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Samantha Jones

Sam's Notebook

Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is CCNNews@cox-internet.com

Opinion

End of an era

Friday, December 27, 2019

In just a week, weíll usher in the beginning of a new decade. They say life is short, and Iím starting to understand why. I canít believe itís been 10 years since my senior year of high school and the beginning of college. It feels like a blur.

I was a regular goodie two-shoes in high school, so you can imagine how tough it was to learn some things the hard way in college. That is how I would sum up my college experience: a hard-earned lesson. I dated an abusive man for almost four years, joined and quit a sorority, lost several internship opportunities and got my very first C in Spanish I. Along the way, I lost myself. I graduated from college simultaneously terrified and ecstatic to be part of the real world, as they called it at my small liberal arts college.

I can still remember post-grads coming back for annual parties and bragging about their jobs or apartments or cars. They made it seem so glamorous ó until they were a few drinks in and started confessing how lonely they were. I felt pity for them. You must be lonely to return to college years after graduating, like a 20-something that still attends high school parties. I remember thinking how sad it was. You have to move on eventually, right?

So on my graduation day, I was determined to do just that. I may have lost myself a bit, but that didnít mean I was gone forever. I moved to Fayetteville to live with my then-boyfriend, Gideon, and applied for every job possible. When I snagged this gig at Carroll County News, I started to feel like myself for the first time in a long time. I hadnít been pleasantly excited about anything in years; even milestones like graduation were more of a prerequisite than dream fulfillment. Iíd do what I had to do, even while feeling completely out of place. That was my attitude for the first half of the decade.

Fortunately, I found my place in Carroll County. Gideon and I moved here in 2014 with no idea what the future would hold. It turns out the future was pretty bright. Today, I am associate editor of Carroll County Newspapers and director of special publications. Gideon finished his masterís degree in 2018 and began his first teaching job in the fall of 2019. We married in 2016.†

Over the years, we truly feel like weíve become of the community. It has been wonderful to see the folks in Carroll County embrace both of us. Gideon has a strong, supportive family at Eureka Springs Middle School and I feel the same way about the folks I work with at Carroll County News. I could not ask for better coworkers.†

With the end of the decade approaching, I canít help but be grateful for those hard-earned lessons that defined the first half of it. I wish I didnít have to trust the wrong people to develop better judgment, but Iím proud of myself for learning and moving forward. Improvement starts with a hard, honest look at yourself. I couldnít do that for a long time and once I did, I felt something I never had before: freedom.†