I am not a particularly gifted writer. I do not have any journalistic expertise or experience aside from my work on my middle school’s newspaper. Nonetheless, I want to write on my blog again, because while my writing may be inferior, something that I think that I am very good at is observing and sifting through information from a variety of sources. Not to sound too boastful, but I have excellent observation skills. Sometimes having those observational skills mean that I want to write about what I observe. My own world has changed dramatically in recent months, and I want to write about how what I have observed and continue to observe has changed how I view the world.
Last summer, we moved from our home in North Carolina to Macon, Georgia so I could take a job that was a step up in the career ladder for me. I didn’t really want to leave North Carolina, but I felt like I had to leave for professional development that wasn’t available to me at my beloved Carolina. Ever since I accepted my job here, that decision has weighed heavily on me. I am not always sure that I made the right decision. I don’t know if I will ever feel that assurance, but nonetheless, it was a risk that I took and so here we find ourselves in a small city in Middle Georgia.
I was not expecting for things to feel as different as they do from my previous life in prosperous larger metropolitan areas. Durham may not be as prosperous as my previous homes in Washington D.C., Seattle, and New York, but as a part of the Research Triangle, it is full of highly-educated, economically advantaged people. Our house sold in less than 24 hours over asking price. It is that kind of place. We had two SuperTargets less than a ten minute drive from our home. We had dozens of top quality restaurants. The public school district was diverse and improving. The RDU airport was less than a twenty minute drive from our house. I could go on and on about all of the advantages of living in Durham.
In many ways, Macon reminds me of the town where I grew up, Pensacola, Florida. The people are friendly, and the sense of history is strong. However, I left Pensacola in 1996. I haven’t really lived there since. Our country has changed profoundly in that time frame. Now, having returned to a town like Pensacola over twenty years later, I can see just how divergent the Two Americas actually are. Only, I don’t think that Two Americas is descriptive enough. There are more than Two Americas because there are at least Two Macons (a topic I plan on exploring again and again). The larger point about the Two Americas I do think is entirely correct – that for many people living in one America (the highly-educated, prosperous urban America) they cannot comprehend with life is like for people in the other America. And for people in the non-prosperous, urban America, they feel so marginalized by that, they cannot help but be fiercely protective of the status quo, often to their own detriment.
Not many Americans have spent their adult lives as I have – living my life across the divide. It has helped me hone my observational skills, but definitely leaves me feeling like an outsider whatever my current zip code may be. I don’t expect to ever fit in, but I do hope that I can use my own experience to try to improve the future of my new home, because my children will spend some portion of their childhood growing up here. A place like Macon makes me feel keenly like I cannot just live on the sidelines, observing, but I have to use those observations to direct myself to some action. So in that way, I want to use this blog as a place where I write, to make sense of all of the observations and sources of information that I encounter so that I can have a cogent plan for action to make my community, my state, my country, and my world a better place for my kids and for all other children. That is why I want to blog again.
Our new home on the one snowy day we had in January: