Today was like most Sundays. I got up, got dressed for church and attended the early service. I sat in the fellowship hall, stood on the front steps of the sanctuary in time to hear the bells from First Church Birmingham and Cathedral Church of the Advent play a relaxing melody – a truly meditative experience if you ever get the chance to here them yourself – then attended the 11 a.m. service.
It was like most Sundays – except for the fact that I’d been running a hyperlocal site about Birmingham, AL – for three years now.
There was never any rhyme or reason with regards to the date that I made the first post to The Terminal. Ironically, it was a post about the approval for demolition of the structure that once stood at the corner of 22nd Street and 4th Ave. North. It once housed Birmingham’s paper of record. They just happened to be celebrating their 120th anniversary that day too. I didn’t know any of this until I was getting ready for the site’s first anniversary party.
I probably know more about what goes on in the cities of Birmingham, AL; Birmingham, MI; and Birmingham, UK than I should, though still not as much as I know I need to.
I’ve been able to travel and meet people I never thought I’d have the chance to including founders of companies and folks out there taking a chance the same way that I do.
I’ve seen the Pacific Ocean, Seattle’s skyline at nighttime, the bright lights of Las Vegas and Chicago at its coldest.
It’s allowed me to speak about what I’ve learned while running the site at last year’s National Trust Main Streets Conference (just one year after I’d completed the requirements for certification), BarCamp Chattanooga, BarCamp Memphis and here in Birmingham a few times as well.
We’ve been able to beta test all types of cool products that make using the site easier (or at least they’re supposed to). The latest one is Apture 2.0. and it’s looking pretty good so far.
There are also several things that you get to learn through an experience like this one.
I’ve learned the true limits of a relationship and what it means when someone truly has confidence in what you’re doing even when you don’t. I’ve seen the true limits of friendship and learned what that word really means. I’ve had to deal with the willingness to battle demons like stress and lack of income head on. You learn how to try your best to honor your word and how miserable you feel when you can’t deliver like you want to.
It is a daily battle, but one that I look forward to simply because I enjoy what I do – I get a chance to write about a city that I’ve chosen to live in. You hope that you get to take the lessons learned and use them effectively later on in life, but we’ll see.
I’ve learned that there are some people that spend much more time watching what they say around you than they used to or just not saying anything at all. Lucky for me I’ve been able to find folks that want to talk from time to time.
It’s a day by day journey at this point with some interesting possibilities as the fourth year begins. Hopefully it will see more engagement from its readers (maybe they’ll start by suggesting ideas on how to celebrate three years later this month) and more voices join it again, though time will tell. I do know that it’s a journey that I enjoy and one that would have never started were it not for those who’ve read this site. So thank you and let’s hope that we get a chance to push the conversation forward just a little bit farther – playing another octave on the piano as it would be both over there and here as we get ready to celebrate five years in July…