When I went to college, I thought I was going to be a journalist. I majored in Journalism, wrote articles for the paper, worked as a copy editor. I thought I would be a reporter for a newspaper.
Guys, it was HARD. I had to go up and talk to strangers and ask them questions, and as an insecure introvert, I found that terrifying. I did like writing the stories, though. And I loved the copy editing, but that was always super late at night. I got exhausted and my stomach would start to cramp around 1 am.
So I had that stuff going on, and at the same time, my mom was back home running her used-book store, the one I’d worked at for a couple of years before college. She and I had a lot of fun together, I loved the book business, and she needed/wanted the help. And somehow it was just easier to give up the journalism stuff and plan to manage the bookstore. I switched my major to English but kept a Journalism minor, mostly because I was pretty much already there with the classes I’d taken, and I quit the copy editor job at the college paper.
Current Bonny is pretty hard on College Bonny. Looking back, I feel like I took the easy way out. I gave up because it got hard. Because it was challenging and scary. And the choices I made then affected the rest of my life. It wasn’t all bad: I loved working with my mom for the next three years, and when the girl was born, I got to take her to work with me and my mom was flexible about nap times and tantrums and all those other baby interruptions. I learned a lot about the used-book business and am still a devoted collector and book snob.
But when the shop, and my parents, moved to Arizona, I fumbled. I tried to do my own book business from home but that never amounted to much, and when the boy was born, I gave that up too and because a stay-at-home mom. I fell into retail because it was an escape from constant mom-ing, and because it didn’t really need any specialized experience or degrees. And that was cool for a few years. I was a good leader, I think, and I loved the people I worked with. But when the job got harder, and life at home got harder, and my father-in-law died and my dad died, I gave up. Again. And I stayed home for another four years.
I feel like a failure sometimes. I look back at my choices and wonder where I’d be now if I’d been brave enough to keep pushing. Because I think College Bonny was on to something. I’m getting a few more opportunities at work, chances to write short news pieces, and it means talking to people and asking questions. And the crazy thing is, it’s super fun. It energizes me. I like learning about people and what they’re passionate about, and I like taking what I learn and turning it into something people enjoy reading.
Yeah, I’m a lot different now than I was 20 years ago. I’ve grown up a lot. I’m more confident in a lot of ways. I have a lot fewer fucks to give in general, and that’s pretty freeing. But man, what if College Bonny had just had faith in herself, and pushed through the fear, and kept on writing?
I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter, I suppose. It definitely doesn’t help anything or change anything. I am where I am, and I don’t regret the time with my mom or the time spent with my kids. I’m grateful we had that flexibility and freedom. And if things are starting to swing in a better direction at work, maybe that’s the most important thing. Maybe the hard conversations I had recently paid off to some extent and helped lead to these new opportunities. I’d like to think so, and maybe that’ll help me keep pushing the next time it gets hard or scary or frustrating. I’ll be like Dory, only it’ll be “Just keep writing, just keep writing!”
So, yeah. That’s where I am today. And now I think I’m going to do some knitting and lighten the mood. Thanks for listening, friends.