I am hardly alone in saying so, but the most rewarding experiences in life never come without intense fear and at least a little doubt.
Stuffing six months worth of clothing and toiletries into a backpack at the age of 21 to travel South East Asia all by myself did not come without worry. But to this day, I can still close my eyes and smell the burning palm leaves, see the rice paddies, hear the gongs and recall every hostel and the smile of every bus driver during that time abroad.
Telling my boyfriend of two years that I no longer loved him as I once did and needed to move out of our fancy, lower Fifth Avenue apartment was abysmal. And yet I do not regret doing it and believe it probably made each of us stronger people and better partners to future loves.
Leaving a full time job that’s not only strengthened my skills as an editor, but provided me with a host of valuable experiences, not to mention a reliable salary to afford Rebecca Minkoff handbags (even from sample sales, natch) and Michael White dinners (holla restaurant week!), is risky and one of the most terrifying decisions I’ve ever made. But I’m doing it. In fact, I’ve done it. After six years and five months, I’ve resigned from the New York Post.
This swap won’t come full circle. At least, not for me. It’s more of a U-turn. A Me-turn, really.
Call me maybe-crazy. But also call me a Writer. Because I’m not resigning for a new full-time editing job somewhere else. I’m resigning to concentrate on writing. (With a chunk of traveling thrown in for good measure. ‘Cause, really, saying I’m going to become a Traveler may not go over well with the ‘rents, or anyone for that matter.)
I’ve decided what to be and go be it. — The Avett Brothers
For the past 10 years or so, when someone asked me what I did, I always said, “I’m an editor.” I helped make other peoples’ work better; stronger. I loved being the fresh eye to labor over how one’s words were strung together, making tweaks and changes until they were just so. I hope — no, I know — I will lend that same skill to my own work as I venture down this less shiny, unpaved road.
See, this is what I always thought I’d do. Somehow I just skipped over it. I went from being a journalism graduate who spent way too much time thinking about what her pen name would be, to quickly moving up the masthead without truly getting to use one.
Sure, I’ve written things here and there for various publications, but I never wrote that ELLE magazine cover story or that New York magazine exclusive. Who knows if I will, or how long I’ll last at my own private desk, wearing Lululemon on the job and taking assignments five hours before they’re due so I could try that new Michael White joint. But I’m going to give it 100 percent effort.
Thanks to this blog, I’ve found my voice. Or, really, just a medium from which to finally broadcast it. The response I’ve gotten from strangers and professionals to friends and family has been astonishing and encouraging. It’s pushed me to flip the tables and turn the switch.
Is it a risk? Yes. Am I a wee bit scared? Yes. But I am ready.
I’ve found my I Am-ness, as my friend and yoga teacher Jennifer Pastiloff encourages her students to declare at the start of her workshops.
About a month ago I went to see A Chorus Line at the West End. (A perk of a sweet full time job that may soon be a distant memory!) During the show I got extremely emotional during the song “What I Did for Love.”
Kiss today goodbye,
The sweetness and the sorrow.
Wish me luck, the same to you.
But I can’t regret
What I did for love, what I did for love.
I closed my eyes and breathed in the lyrics. This is what I’m doing for love. So it’s not a curly-haired, blue-eyed Love with a British accent and shared interest in the Kings of Leon and bike riding that everyone back home hoped I’d come back (or not come back) with.
But it’s A Love.
Kiss today goodbye,
And point me t’ward tomorrow.
We did what we had to do.
Won’t forget, can’t regret
What I did for Love
Call me a little dramatic – hey, it’s theatre, people! – but it’s also the rest of my life. Or really, just the start.