Leaning into the Afternoons

“I had to start it somewhere, so it started there…”

Share it now!

I don’t intend for LitA to be a re-run of the old “Leaning into the Afternoons” site, but in contemplating where to jump off here I thought the first post from there would be as good a start as any. In 2010, I moved from Birmingham, Alabama to Charlotte, North Carolina and, as could be expected, it has been transformational…

A Tuesday (on a jet plane)

13 June 2010

I guess if I had to pick a starting point for this adventure it would be Tuesday, May 11. I had been speaking to a recruiter for the previous three weeks about a job in Charlotte, NC, but I didn’t put much stock in the opportunity as I speak to a lot of recruiters about jobs all over the United States. Most of them are shots in the dark (for them and for me). However, my discussions with this guy – and his tenacity – turned into a phone interview late on a Friday, which then turned into an early flight out of Birmingham on that Tuesday morning.

Airline travel, as much as I’ve done it (which is a helluva lot), always makes me contemplative. I don’t see how it could fail to make everyone that way especially with a window seat. This morning was especially poignant because it was time I could use to deeply consider an opportunity that was getting closer and closer to becoming real. I don’t mean the job offer, but the opportunity to leave Birmingham.

I had always lived in Birmingham. I love Birmingham very much. I was proud that I knew it well enough to know what the city had to offer, what places to go and when, at least one “insider” at most venues, and enough to chuckle at her critics…and they are aplenty. While I had made a point to travel for fun and business – I think travel is only surpassed by reading in truly educating a person – Birmingham was always home…for the place and the people.

But, without knowing it, I had become internally conflicted about my home city. So many bad decisions, bad circumstances, obstacles overcome, and similar things had left a tangled bocage of a past that was nearly impossible to sort through in my quiet times. This trip, and the possibility it provided, had only served to highlight all of that in my mind.

So, now, I remember the singular moment when I decided that I would indeed accept the move if the opportunity was offered. As the plane lifted off the runway and we started our ascent, I glanced out the window down into Eastlake. It was early, as I said, and people were starting their commutes to work. And at the same time as I realized that Birmingham would go on without me, I unexpectedly felt so much of the confusion about the city, my life, sliding off my shoulders back onto the runway. Life, for good or bad, has its own inertia. Force of will, force of circumstances, or both can conspire to change the course, but to try and stubbornly stand still only leads to frustration and, I’m convinced, a quick death…if not physical, then certainly spiritual.