Don’t tell Ralph Waldo Emerson, but I’m really not a fan of the whole, “Life is a journey, not a destination” mantra.
While I may be coming around a bit when it comes to my feelings on that quote, one thing is certain: I despised it in 2011.
In case you’re new here, 2011 was rough for me.
I had my destination mapped out for as long as I could remember. To sum it up, I was going to work my behind off through much of my younger years, go to law school, graduate and get some impressive sports job.
From my young perspective, the whole journey component was nothing short of a hassle. I had big dreams, bold plans and a short amount of time I wanted to accomplish both in. There was no time marked in my planner to stop and smell the roses. There were no breaks or follies. To put it mildly, I was all business, even as a youngster.
For the most part, my journey led me directly to my destination for most of my years. There were a few curve balls thrown in there, but nothing too terribly detrimental.
Then 2011 struck. I lost the “love of my life.” (Side note: You never lose the love of your life. If it’s the love of your life, they don’t disappear. Perhaps this is a topic for another day, but I digress). I lost the “job of my dreams” when I fell runner-up to an impressive in-house counsel gig. The real nail in the coffin, though, was when my crush made out with my best friend at my birthday party in 2011. As lame as it seems now as I put that in writing two years later, it was in that moment that I was really sent over the edge and driven off course.
Or so I thought.
What I didn’t know at the time, but what hindsight (which “is 20-20”) has shown me, is that all of those things happened for a reason. In the days after my birthday in 2011, I hit the proverbial brick wall. I was at my lowest of lows and knew that I need to make a change. After prayer, lots of really, really long runs along the California coast and many late night talks with my roommate at the time, Alex, I decided I was going to refocus my negative energy at the time into something. That something was RulingSports.com.
Some two years later, I woke up today a college professor.
I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for RulingSports.com.
So, perhaps, it is about the journey after all. Smooth, Mr. Emerson.
Sometime in 2012, when the clouds of 2011 had parted, I was walking through a Whole Foods when I walked past a stand of greeting cards. One of the cards held this quote:
I literally stopped in my tracks when I saw it. And it wouldn’t be a lie to say that I thought something like, “I have no idea who this Asha Tyson chick is (side note: Turns out Asha is an author who has penned such intriguing titles as, ‘How I Retired at 26!’), but she has a far more solid mantra than ol’ Ralph.”
So there I was, with a hand basket of organic vegetables, standing in an aisle at Whole Foods and thinking, “Yea, that’s right! This journey–the good, the bad, the ugly, the painful, the beautiful–it all has molded me! And not only has it molded me, but it has molded me for the greater good. How about that?! And that time I thought I’ve been wasting, especially on that guy who I thought was the “love of my life”? Well, that wasn’t wasted time.
Because it led me here.
A lot of people have asked me how I decided to pursue a career in academia. In all honesty, it threw a lot of people for a loop. The simplest answer, is that I considered my journey and I prayed about it. A lot.
And after that consideration and prayer (and the fifteen-plus sports-related trips I’ve taken this year), I realized a few things. Namely:
1. Sports is my greatest passion in life.
2. I need a career related to sports that provides me with a stable lifestyle, as I want to have a family someday.
3. I love the media work I do, but many of the women I know in media work are unable to balance their media job, husband and children.
4. I love working with college-aged individuals in not only a teaching capacity, but helping them achieve their own goals and dreams.
5. A job teaching provides the best of all of these things and also allows me to continue writing for media outlets and furthering my own research.
So, long story short, a perfect storm of events collided and I found my dream job. Last week was my first week on the University of Miami campus, and in all honesty, last week was one of the happiest I have experienced in a long time. I’m 2,000 miles from home, but I feel like I’m at home. I have laughed more in the last ten days than I have in years. That “love of my life” that I lost? I wouldn’t have taken this job if he was still in the picture. That job I “lost out” on? There’s no way I would’ve been as happy there as I am here. That crush that decided he’d celebrate my birthday by making out with my friend? Well, clearly, I didn’t lose out there.
If I had known throughout all of that what stood on this, the other side, I could’ve slept a lot more, cried a lot less and been a lot happier.
Today marked the first college class I taught. It was the ever important “syllabus day.” As I stood in front of my students and stole their summer vacation away from them, I was remembering what I was thinking of when I sat in their seats. The hope that filled my heart. The endless possibilities that marked my future. The naive goals I had set for myself.
As a professor, it is my goal to encourage my students to dream the biggest dreams possible and to hold onto their hopes. As a professor, it is my job to give my all to ensure that they are given every opportunity to achieve those big dreams and to never lose those hopes.
This job is one of the greatest honors of my life and this day marks the next turn in this very fun journey I am on.