This Spring Break my mom, sister, and I all went to Tampa, Florida, where we moved from late summer 2018. Because of her job, my mom frequently goes down so it was not very unusual for her, but my sister and I have not been back since a visit we did three years ago. I was a little nervous to be back in town just because it had been so long, and it definitely was weird when we first got into the city. It was hard to process that it had been over three years since I was last in town at the place I have really spent the majority of my life growing up. It’s even weirder to think that even though I have lived in Birmingham a much shorter time, I, without doubt, consider this my home, and I want to keep it that way.
Many people still ask me whether I like Tampa or Birmingham better, and they are always a little caught off guard by the promptness of my response for Birmingham. Don’t get me wrong, Tampa is a great city, and although the two have very similar qualities, the lifestyles overall are very different. Personally, I believe I just fit in better with the atmosphere in Birmingham. I’m confident that if I lived in Tampa now, I would have still had the opportunity to thrive, but I would definitely be a different person.
Moving from Florida to Alabama was a great leap of faith my family took, and I am so thankful we did. I always see my old friends’ posts, and then being back in the city, it is so hard to imagine that I onced lived there. It is crazy how much your personality and lifestyle adapts to the environment around you. That may seem like a very obvious statement, but I did not realize it until being in Birmingham for a while and then finding myself such a different person from those in Florida. I even remember early on in seventh grade someone told me the shirt I was wearing was such a Florida shirt, and I was so appalled that that style shirt every girl in my grade had was not all that to the girls of my new school. Even though it might have been a little harsh, I kind of snapped to realize that the fashion of Tampa was not really my first choice. My closet was probably the first thing to change to fit into my new home’s “standards”. This really first started with the addition to jeans in my wardrobe, man, it was such a shock to me how cold Alabama gets in the winter! But I say all this that even though I ended up changing myself to fit in with Birmingham a little better, I did it out of genuine interest versus feeling like I had to do it in order to be accepted by my Florida friends.
Being able to look back on my life in Tampa I can still appreciate the memories I have there, but I have come to love the growth of myself since moving away. I changed my mindset from focusing on the negatives there to only remember the positives and how it has helped me grow as a person. Each experience in my life has helped me become who I am today and sometimes it might take moving states to do it! It is very important to not hate or beat up on yourself for your past decisions/personality/life, but to see the change and development that has come from it. I would have never believed five years ago that I am the person I am or even how happy I am in a completely different state, but I am so thankful for where I am! Change yourself for the better of you and you only and learn to love your past!!