Leaving Birmingham for good was harder than I expected. The city did not offer much apart from the University, visits to Walmart and the Indian food store. Life in the apartment with my roommates was not extraordinary. And yet, I had a hard time fighting back tears as I made my way to the airport.
2008 was a year of travel for me. I was in India in January, the U.S in February, Cambodia in May, India in October and the U.S in December. I've sat waiting for flights at a mind-numbing list of airports in that time; Bombay, Zurich, Hong Kong, Phnom Penh, Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago, Phoenix, Houston, Cincinnati, Raleigh, New York and Birmingham. Simply reading back on what I've typed just now makes me tired thinking about all that flying and transit time. It's not glamorous in the least, let me assure you.
Stating the obvious here, I like routine. It takes time and a lot of emotional investment to settle somewhere, make friends, get some sort of purpose and order to existence... have some reason to get up in the morning, let's say. And of course, having said this, I have no answer to why I've moved around so much. While each place I've stayed in brought it's share of stress, it took me the length of that ride from my house to the airport yesterday to realize that this is the palette of life - annoying people that I cannot help but like, infuriating experiences that have taught me to take things as they come, solitary times bringing insights that were just waiting for me to think and listen.
In many respects, the guy who arrived in Birmingham at 6:30pm on 19th August 2006 is not the same person who left the city at 9:05 am on 24th December 2008. It is no small measure of comfort to admit that he left Birmingham, a better person. To admit that it was coming to Birmingham, living, fighting and laughing with people, that is the catalyst for change.
I'm not quite sure what is in store for me now. I have stepped out of one room, one life and opened the door to another, no longer at the threshold.
Growing up, thankfully, is ignorant of birthdays.
Song for the moment: Beyond the Horizon - Bob Dylan