Today is my 28th birthday ĖĖ I am officially a member of the Late 20s Club. Birthdays arenít usually a big deal to me, but finding a place in the world certainly is. Thatís what this birthday represents to me.
Five years ago, I celebrated my 23rd birthday just a few months after I started working at Carroll County News. It was my first job in the real world and I didnít know exactly what to expect. Even exciting change can be scary in the beginning. During those first few months at CCN, I overanalyzed everything I did. I convinced myself I wasnít measuring up, even though everyone was super nice and encouraging.
A small typo in a press release was the end of the world. I couldnít stop obsessing over the small mistakes ĖĖ typos and run-on sentences and misspelled names, oh my! And if I messed up a headline or some other noticeable component of the paper? Well, that made me feel like the ultimate failure.
After beating myself up for months, my birthday rolled around. I wasnít sure if anyone around the office liked me; for some reason, I have always felt like people just donít like me. I expected my birthday to come and go. I didnít expect anybody to care. But my coworkers did care. I spent my 23rd birthday being serenaded by the entire office, followed by homemade cake and a thoughtful card. Thatís the first time Carroll County started to feel like home and I will never forget it.
Since that birthday, Iíve had my ups and downs. The highs include being promoted to associate editor, making new friends who are like family and watching my husband Gideon achieve his dream of being a public school teacher. The lows are very low ĖĖ in 2017, I lost one of my new friends and Eureka Springs lost a talented, kind-hearted artist. There was lots of personal turmoil in 2018 and even at the beginning of this year. Breaking my ankle was tough. I couldnít walk without a boot for months. Some days, I felt absolutely worthless.
But I kept going and things got better ĖĖ†a lot better, actually. Gideon started working at Eureka Springs Middle School in August and we began saving up for a down payment on a home. We are hoping to be in a home of our own by the end of next year. For the first few years we lived in Eureka Springs, we werenít sure if weíd stick around for too long. We didnít know how either of our jobs would pan out. We didnít know if the Carroll County community would accept us.
When Gideon started teaching a few months ago, we had a delightful epiphany: Carroll County is our home and it has been for quite some time. We spent so much time worrying about the future that we didnít realize we were building a home right where we are. Gideon loves working with everyone at Eureka Springs School District, and I love my job more than ever. I grew up dreaming of being a writer. How often do we get to do the thing we dreamt of as children?
Of course, I have my wonderful coworkers to thank for making that dream a reality. Carroll County News runs like a well-oiled machine because we all show one another respect. When I was 22 years old with no real work experience, everyone around here treated me with respect. They have helped me learn and grow. I am so grateful to all the folks at Carroll County News ĖĖ they have been so encouraging from my 23rd birthday to now.
None of us know what the future holds, but Iím expecting big things from the next few years. Iíve spent so much of my life trying to find a place in the world. Now that Iíve found it, I canít help but wonder what comes next.
Whatever it is, I am ready.