Stick aroundBy Wade Kwon
Kay and her man are staying in town. Theyâ€™re putting down roots and everything.
Even as Iâ€™m wondering how long Iâ€™ll stick around.
Sheâ€™s a Midwestern girl whoâ€™s found her way down South, a real asset to the Birmingham of the 21st century. We need to hang onto cool professionals like her and bring in as many as the lofts and apartments will hold.
Iâ€™m often asked why stay in Birmingham, whatâ€™s the appeal. For me, a hometown kid, it is an easy answer. It is an easy place to love, warts and all.
I want to be here as the city grows in diversity and importance. I want to help build it to its long-standing, underserved potential.
I have roots.
But as much as I love life here, I realize that this may be the year to pick up and start again elsewhere. Iâ€™m no longer certain I can find the things that sustain me or give me hope for a life I want.
Love. Career. Family.
Itâ€™s the most basic formula, but one that hasnâ€™t added up for me so far.
So I am torn. Will my prospects improve elsewhere? Probably. Can I find my way back here? Maybe.
Ginny came back after a six-year journey through the New South urban wilderness. Sheâ€™s thrilled to rediscover her hometown and see all the changes.
(I can sum up: more malls, more condos, black radio rules, white radio sucks, Lakeview is in, 280 is worse, more energy, more creativity, same politics, better networking.)
Some problems never change. Itâ€™s too clubby, too divided. Itâ€™s not forward thinking enough. It has a bad image.
I want to change these things. Even if people around me donâ€™t care.
For now, my roots are strong.
My roots are my friends, new friends like Kay and old friends like Ginny. My roots are my house. My roots are my familiarity with this city.
I could go elsewhere, start anew. It would be challenging, but Iâ€™m up for it. It just wouldnâ€™t be the same.
Kay is going house shopping soon, and I am excited. I wish I were as excited about my own murky future.