While driving home from a late meeting last week, it struck me that I get paid to do something I genuinely enjoy. That realization hit me like a freight train.
I spend so much time worrying about what I have to do at work, I realized, that I don't often take the time to be thankful for the job I get to do. Most of us dream of growing up to be someone important -- a doctor, an artist, a writer, a musician, an airplane pilot -- and accept it when our lives inevitably take a different path.
I always wanted to be a writer. I remember being 8 years old and typing a melodramatic short story on my mom's old desktop computer. The story wasn't good. The characters were unrealistic and the plot wouldn't thicken even if I added flour. But my dream was good. It was real. It drove me to study harder in school, to read as much as I could and to create a tentative career plan before I'd even graduated from high school.
Somehow, I got really lucky. The life I had in mind when I was 17 is the life I'm living today. It didn't start out this easy. While in college, I applied to many newspaper internships and finally accepted an internship at a radio station in my hometown. That experience was terrible and made me wonder if I should rethink my plan to work in media.
Then I moved to Eureka Springs and started working at the Carroll County News, a place where I've found acceptance as a writer, professional and human. The job is absolutely what I dreamed it to be; every day, I get to talk to someone new and learn something I didn't know the day before. Then I get to write about it. It really is the perfect combination of creativity and business.
What I didn't expect to enjoy so much is working with the people I do. I can honestly say I like everyone I work with, and I've never been able to say that about any job in my life. We're a team here at CCN, and we support each other. In fact, coffee breaks are my favorite time of the day because that means I get to enjoy caffeine with really great company. The best part is we don't just talk to each other over coffee. We share important pieces of our lives, and we do it without holding back.
It's the most comfortable I've ever felt at work, and I have deep gratitude for it.
I always dreamed of a professional life like the one I have now, but I never thought much of my personal life until two years ago. That's when I started dating my boyfriend, Gideon. Until then, I'd all but given up on the notion of relying on another person for anything. I had been burned in relationships and didn't want to believe putting myself out there was worth risking all the pain it might cause.
Things are different with Gideon. I knew from the moment we got together. In a time when I considered most other humans unreliable, Gideon convinced me to open up and give him a chance to prove otherwise. He has. He's a wonderful cook, a loving cat dad and one of the most considerate people I've ever known.
When I get home from work, he usually has dinner ready. Most of the time, he makes me a cup of tea and brings me dinner as I sit there doing absolutely nothing. I worried for a while that he might think I'm lazy for not doing much when I get home, but I've realized that it's something he enjoys doing. He wants to take care of me.
I feel lucky to be with such a kind man. More importantly, I feel completely secure, professionally and personally.
For that balance, for the people who treat me with respect daily, for the relationship I never thought I could have -- I am so, so grateful.
I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, with enough camaraderie and food for days. Remember to feel grateful, the kind of gratitude that makes your head spin and puts everything in its right place.
Hug your loved ones, eat lots of turkey, and give thanks.
* * *
Samantha Jones is a reporter for the Carroll County News. Her email address is CCNNews@cox-internet.com.