In mere hours, 2010 will be half-over, and in those six months I feel I have lived a whole other lifetime.
I’ve run my first – and second – half-marathon and begun training for my first full marathon, in Chicago in October. Just 18 months ago, I couldn’t run a mile and a half without stopping.
In January I began applying for jobs for the first time, really, in my adult life. How quickly I learned the rest of the world does not function the way newspapers do! It was an experience both humbling and heartening. Many of my e-mails and applications went wholly ignored; on the other hand, I was a finalist for the first job for which I applied, and the experience of interviewing – and feeling good about my performance in doing so – was incredibly empowering.
In February I applied for a job at St. Anthony Messenger Press, for which I had a phone interview on Good Friday. (I sure did think that was a good sign!) In early June, I received and accepted an offer from SAMP, marking a change in my career path that I never had anticipated when I headed off to Northwestern, lo, those many years ago. That said, when I headed off to NU, my plan was to become a foreign correspondent and work in Latin America. So there’s that.
The opportunity to change directions while staying in the media/publishing industry and putting my faith into a professional context was too good to pass up. I am so excited about this transition, even as I’m scared of the newness and the pending period of incompetence I’m about to experience. But after 11 years, it was time to make a change.
Change, thus far, has been the hallmark of 2010. I have done dozens of things outside my comfort zone, beginning with practicing the art of networking. In February I joined the American Marketing Association in an effort to expand my professional contact list. What I learned was I also was blessed to expand my list of friends in the process. For the first time I can remember, I quite literally was relying on the kindness of strangers, and that kindness came forth in abundance. What followed were lunches and coffees and e-mails galore, each of which seemed to lead to yet another person offering to help me and sincerely wishing me well. It was a remarkable feeling, to be welcomed into people’s lives, and it helped me believe that maybe, just maybe, I had something left to contribute to the world.
That feeling led me to join the Fine Arts Fund’s inaugural Boardway Bound class in April, my first step toward a meaningful involvement in the arts community. Again, I entered into this with some trepidation but came away feeling as though, yes, there really is a place for someone like me to make an impact. And honestly, it’s been awhile since I’ve felt I could make an impact – a positive one, anyway.
Also in April, I began a three-month stint working as a Metro editor, to fill in for a maternity leave. It was a difficult adjustment at first – new people, personalities, processes – but I realize now how worthwhile it was. For one, I met some wonderful people, especially my friend Sherry Coolidge. She’s an outstanding, passionate reporter who helped make me a better editor and who encouraged me when I needed it. How this woman dropped out of the sky to become my friend, I have no idea. But I am so grateful.
Being in Metro also will prove to be good practice for the move I am about to make. When I started April 6, I didn’t know what was coming, but it’s interesting to look back now and see how the pieces sort of fell into place, leading me to the point where I am now.
I feel as though I’ve worked harder in the past six months than ever before. For a few months, I had two jobs: my job at The Enquirer and the job of looking for a new job. I was also training for my races and, to be honest, battling some increasingly bad depression and anxiety. It was exceptionally difficult for me to manage, and I know at times I failed. I’ve let down my husband countless times, but for whatever reason, he forgives me and helps me and keeps moving forward. I know I let down many of my friends, as well, and in some cases, I fear there are cracks in relationships that cannot be repaired. For what it’s worth, I’m trying to be a better me. And I think I’m kind of on the right track.
If nothing else, I’m a very busy me. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to Key West, Germany and the Czech Republic, Southern California, Indianapolis (twice), French Lick, Michigan – even Madeira and Mariemont!
I ate venison for the first time ever – and liked it – and tried my hand at making meatballs (success!), rack of lamb (two partial successes) and pan-seared duck breast (debacle!).
I got to watch John Calipari revive UK basketball and hear former Xavier coach Pete Gillen speak at a banquet.
I ran on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and tobogganed down the side of a German mountain.
It’s been a wild half-year. I have felt as low as someone possibly could – alone, scared, hopeless – but I have rallied with as much strength and determination as I can muster. I actually have accomplished a number of goals I set for myself, and as I look back over the past six months, I have to give 2010 a darn good mid-season progress report.
What will the latter half hold? Hopefully I’ll love my new job, finish the Chicago Marathon without stopping or walking, see my friend Mary Ann kick cancer’s ass, and enjoy a Christmas with all my family tucked into my house eating cinnamon rolls.
Dare to dream, my friends.
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