After 33 years away, I moved back to Buffalo, the city where I was born and raised.
When I left in 1989, the city was bleak. The economy crashed. Decay was rampant. Residents were fleeing. Hope was non-existent. Despair was as deep as the lake-effect snow that buries the city during winter.
Today, Buffalo is experiencing a rebirth. Investment and development is everywhere. People are moving into the city. Restaurants, bars, lofts, businesses, apartment complexes are sprouting up everywhere. This long beleaguered city is suddenly hip, and hope has returned.
As Buffalo forges a new path, so, too, am I. After taking an early retirement, I’m beginning my second act. A rebirth in a way.
Not everything in Buffalo’s resurrection has been smooth. Gentrification is displacing longtime residents. Rents and real estate have skyrocketed. People are falling through the cracks. Homelessness is a problem. So too is crime. The chasm between the haves and have-nots seems to be growing wider.
Like my city, I’m also trying to shake off my ghosts and bury parts of my past. And, I’m also trying figure out and navigate the future.
There are lessons to be learned in every resurrection.