It has been two and a half years since I felt like my life was something I wanted to share with the world. In that time, I came back to the U.S. from a year in England; moved to Alexandria, Va., just outside of D.C.; worked as a waitress in a bar; wrote legal coverage for Courthouse News Service; moved to Middletown, N.Y.; became a reporter for the Times Herald-Record. My marriage unraveled, and my husband and I split last spring.
And that’s just scratching the surface. It’s been an intense two and a half years, to say the least. This series of new beginnings has gotten me to where I am today, trying not to panic about my first day at a new job tomorrow. I worked my last day at the Record on Friday, and tomorrow I will start a new, non-journalism role in charge of media relations at The Center For Discovery, a local nonprofit known for their innovation in caring for people with complex disabilities. For once, I am changing jobs but staying in one place. Knowing that I will still have my perfectly decorated apartment with its cute garden, and I’m just a phone call away from a drinking date with any of my THR coworkers makes this transition a piece of cake [I’m totally in denial. Not sure when the enormity of this change will slam my consciousness.]
Beyond my immediate circle of friends, coworkers and family, I haven’t really broadcast this transition. Some in the community found out on Twitter Thursday afternoon, and others will learn about it right here. Oops. Sorry to the town supervisors whom I didn’t warn of my disappearance, and the friends who will be blindsided by my sudden decision to leave the newspaper biz.
I wasn’t looking to leave the Record, and certainly not journalism. I am a journalist through and through, absolutely passionate about my role in serving the community and the necessity of a free press in a true democracy. But when the perfect opportunity falls in your lap at the perfect time, you just don’t say no.
In back-to-back weeks in December, I wrote the two biggest stories of my time at the Record. I broke the news that someone was *finally* charged in the homicide of firefighter Justin Speights, and then I wrote a series of stories about the federal indictment of Orthodox real estate developer Shalom Lamm on voter fraud charges. My year and a half at the Record felt like five- two traumatizing deaths defined my time there, plus some intense, politically and religiously-charged ongoing scandals. And in the meantime I was getting a divorce, which I chose not to share with my coworkers for months. It was all rather exhausting.
When I interviewed for the Record in June 2015, I looked around at the people in that newsroom with an eye to whether they could be the right people with whom to surround myself if the worst happened and I did end up getting a divorce (which was a very strong possibility at the time). I decided they were, and I was absolutely right. I didn’t need people I could cry to about my emotional drama – I simply needed to be surrounded by strong people who inspired me to be strong. And they did.
So, the week before Christmas I got a call. The CEO of The Center for Discovery meant it way back when, when he’d said I should come work for him one day. He was creating a new position to help TCFD share its message and its work with the community, and he wanted me to take the job and make it my own. And that is what I’m going to do. I did so much at the Record, survived so much, and I’m proud of myself. I could never leave journalism for a cause I didn’t find worthwhile, but I believe The Center and I are going to do some great work together. I’m excited to get started.
And when I get the hang of this blogging thing again, I have lots of travels from the past two years to share- Chile, Iceland, Barbados, Montreal… and the next trip is in May! Stay tuned.