My first two years of college were spent in Birmingham, Alabama at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Though my dream back then was to attend Emory University in Atlanta, I settled on UAB after completing my military training (Army National Guard vet).
The two years spent at UAB were two of the most enlightening and
life-changing times for me, for it was there that I began to shift from
an attitude focused on pleasing my parents to one focused on
personal happiness as an adult. It was also there, [I'm about to be
a little dramatic] I began to feel as if I were drowning in everything and nothing... at the same time. (I can still remember the feeling... it was icky-- in a 'make you squirm and uncomfortable' kind of way.)
At that time, my life consisted of a full course-load of classes in which I wasn't inspired one bit, a full-time job (great co-workers though) in which i worked the overnight shift, unnecessary financial responsibility of paying rent for an apartment I didn't need, and an active and stressful campus student group (Black Student Union) in which I was the leader. I came to the realization that I was miserable and if I didn't do something to change my misery, I was going to end up a like a bitter and disgruntled financial-aid lady taking out her personal life frustrations on innocent and broke college students. (You know the financial aid workers I speak of-- the ones with the bad attitudes. ON A SIDE NOTE- Little did I know, UAB financial-aid ladies had NOTHING on Howard University's Office-of-STANK- ATTITUDE-PEOPLE- who work in the Financial Aid Office but don't 'Aid' anyone- & refuse-to-return-e-mail and voice messages....(sigh) that felt good.)
Anyway, at the conclusion of my Sophomore year, I was miserable. I felt both
overwhelmed and bored to death with my life there. I literally felt as each day that passed was dooming my future to financial aid lady land. (FYI-- I have nothing against nice financial aid workers. But you nasty ones....)
I used to work in downtown Birmingham and I often worked an overnight shift answering phones and recording the deaths of those who'd just passed away. (I was like a death operator-- Hospitals throughout Alabama called me when one of their patients died and I recorded the information.-- In retrospect, I realize that it is quite possible that my morbid job may have affected my outlook on life, hilariously true!.) So, I worked in this office building that had a pretty nice view of the B-ham skyline and I remember looking out at it late one night thinking to myself, "I've gotta change my skyline..." I began to realize that I needed something different. I needed a different environment, different company, different challenges, and most importantly a different outlook for my future and a different plan for getting me there.
So I created a plan, applied to school in DC and was accepted, and worked extra-hard to save money for the big move to D.C. My parents were dead set against it. I was prepared to go without their help. Two weeks before I was scheduled to go (they realized that I wasn't playing around) they came around and even helped me relocate to my new city. It was such a great moment...
I was reminded of 'change the skyline' decision today while looking out of my office window. Granted, everyday since then hasn't always been the best. But, today I had a 'Tokyo Moment' and I reflected on my journey from being miserable woman in Birmingham headed to bitter financial aid lady-land, to being a Sista in Tokyo-- and I smiled. I am blessed.
Though I average 12 hours a day at work-- and sometimes more, I am happy. And the most important thing is-- this is only the beginning! I have plans for the future, which include more skyline ambitions, among many other things to come.
Anyway-- not to get all mushy and stuff (but I am a really kind of mushy), but I understand that I have a few readers who are the exact age I was when I made that decision-- or maybe even younger. I simply wanted to post a special message to help inspire you. If you want to change your skyline-- you can there's no one stopping you.
God is good!