Up until last week, I kept my recent appointment as managing editor under wraps, sharing it only sparsely as the subject came up. That is, until the official announcement was made in last week’s The Windham Eagle. The response from my family and friends has been overwhelmingly positive. One response, in particular, was perfect in the sense that it made me realize a little something about myself.
You see, I have always dreamed of becoming a full-fledged “real” writer. You know the type? The novelist that pounds down the coffee while hammering away at the typewriter in the morning, slowing moving over to a glass of wine in the afternoon with one chapter of the next great American novel completed by the end of the day.
Yes, I have an old fashioned typewriter. No, that “real” writer’s scenario hasn’t happened, yet.
Also, I had made a promise to a close writer friend of mine who had ALS, assuring her that I would write and publish in her place. That promise was made over ten years ago. So last year as I entered into my 50th journey around the sun, I decided I better get my rump in gear. That included, with the encouragement of my husband, taking the plunge this past fall and risking it all by leaving a job I enjoyed to pursue the writer’s life.
While many looked on to me with admiration, it seems I may have frightened a few others by choosing to leave full time employment. One response I received from a very dear friend of mine, once she learned of my new position was, “When you quit your job this fall, I wasn’t sure you were making a smart move, but I guess you knew more than we did.”
The thing is, she had a right to be concerned. I love adventure more than possibly wise, jumping into the unknown without a parachute. I have stepped off that cliff more than once and, although most often I took flight and bettered my life, I have also paid dearly for the few times it didn’t go as smoothly. She has witnessed those times.
But what I learned the most from her statement is that I did know more about what I was getting myself into this time around. I took a calculated risk that came with a back-up plan. My parachute was packed properly and on my back when I jumped.
Gratefully, the parachute opened without hindrance and I touched down in the land of positive and solution-based journalism. I’m one to encourage risking everything to follow dreams, but now that I’m a little wiser, I also encourage preparation. It, for me, has made all the difference.