I remember when I left Alabama in 2006 – I remember it in great detail. The people who knew and who didn’t. The reasons I told some people and not others. I remember thinking that any future chapter would add on to the previous ones and it wasn’t the end of anything. I wasn’t wrong exactly, but I wasn’t right either. There wasn’t a time that the two worlds really became one. Through no fault of any one person – it was just life. It was just that life. The life that kept me away. The life that happened at the place I called home while I was away doing something else. There were friends I kept in touch with, there were friends I lost touch with. Nothing that happened was overly remarkable or shocking – life is lived and it all is what it is.
And now, the year I turn 31, I am going to return home. A move that seems to shock almost no one. A move that people seemed expect me to make they were just waiting for me to make the final decision on my own. I wrote a post last summer where I pretty much decided it. And then there were things that happened along the way that just solidified my decision. Those close to me saw me making the steps in the direction of home. The turning down dates, the buckling down on adult things that needed to be done, me making comments about an eventual move. The change was coming, it was in motion…I just needed to stop and make a decision on when and how. I needed to actually make a plan, and follow through.
And quite honestly, finding motivation for something like that can be hard. I had gotten used to living here with out my people. There were pushes along the way (like this post as a singular example…ALL of it). But I kept questioning if I was standing in my own way of being at home here. And then I went home for a week. And I was standing looking through clothes at Target with a friend and her niece talking about our belly buttons. And I found an easy familiarity of new friends that it seemed I’d known for years. And had the comfortableness of being lazy with a best friend who knows me better than nearly anyone. And then there were the memories made over breakfast while discussing life’s hottest topics with my ladies (ok and a couple of dudes). It’s these moments, things that aren’t anything noteworthy in a big picture kind of way, that settled my mind in my choice.
The night before I left to come back to North Carolina, I cried. I texted my three amigas in Birmingham in tears. Suddenly the idea of even coming back to North Carolina to tie up loose ends was just depressing. And as the last week has been a whirl of getting back in to the swing of work/school/gym/appointments there’s also been a steady and strong current of my goal and word for 2014. Somewhere around Monday or Tuesday someone said to me “It seems like you’re having a difficult time settling back in there. Like you left a lot of you back here (in Alabama).” They were right, and while I think maybe that’s sad I think that for the current purpose of getting back home it’s a good thing to not be settled here. Why should any of us settle in a life we aren’t happy with? I could go in to a long post of that alone – but truly there’s no good that comes from settling.
I’ve been asked if I regret not moving back to Alabama 2 years ago, and that’s a difficult question to answer. Pretty much impossible actually. I hardly recognize the person I was 2 years ago, I can’t begin to say if that would have been a good choice or a bad choice for that person. She had a lot of things she needed to figure out and life to live here. It’s the sort of thing that I think wouldn’t have happened the way it did anywhere else. While I am not happy here in this town, the move itself was exactly what the Alena of 2012 needed to become the person she is. The person I am now.
And as Amanda perfectly put it when I wrote my Home post for 2014, “There was a moment I knew without a doubt that “home” was in my future. I didn’t care what it took, what I broke to get there, or how I’d pull it off but it simply didn’t matter. What I knew was that Home was my goal, it wouldn’t fix my problems but it was what I and my children NEEDED.”
And this is what I need. What we need.
And so now the countdown is on.
90-ish days and counting.