Originally, I was titling this piece “Conquering Change,” but I haven’t conquered anything. Instead, I’m chipping away at needed changes. The biggest chunk I’ve chiseled off is making the decision that I had to change my job.
I’ve been a published author since 2016, but for almost three decades I’ve been a sports journalist. As a reporter, I’ve covered professional events, college events, and even taken some photos at a few NFL games. I spent twenty years covering a real love of mine, the Indianapolis 500. I covered my last race in 2016 to concentrate on being an author.
After six months, I missed being a sports reporter and found a compromise. I decided to cover high school sports for the local weekly newspaper whose coverage area included two high schools in my community. In a way, it was a dream job, because I had the freedom to continue being an author but still have the extra income of being a reporter.
I fell in love with being a reporter for high school sports. I developed wonderful relationships with coaches, athletes and others in the community. I watched some incredible events and athletes who never gave up, but more than anything, I loved seeing how these coaches were more interested in guiding kids to be good people more than winning games.
Then something happened.
I was diagnosed with cancer. I went through treatment and went into remission, but the lingering effects of treatment changed the game for me. I did go back to work, but it was difficult with the exhaustion and chemo brain causing trouble in interviews. It got better, but I was never like I was before treatment. Nine months again, the cancer returned. Now, I’m on a different treatment which is not as draining as chemo.
I still couldn’t keep up. The late nights, weekends, hard bleachers, press boxes with no heat or air took its toll, and I had to make a difficult decision.
I couldn’t do it anymore.
But what else could I do? Reporting was all I knew.
A CPA firm took a chance on me even though I had no experience working in an office or working with software other than Word. I think I nailed the interview when I said I was used to unhappy people yelling at me. Grandmothers at sporting events can be pretty scary.
I’m in my fifth month at this job, and I love it. I don’t work nights or weekends. I work indoors with heat and air conditioning, and my two other coworkers are already like family. I have a cozy chair to sit in, and the owner comes into the office maybe once a week. I’ve been yelled at twice over the phone by people who still haven’t received their tax refund. (The IRS is six or more months behind in processing paper returns). The yelling doesn’t bother me because it’s not something I did, and since I have the health issue I have, most problems seem pretty minor to me.
I guess what I want to say is big change is scary, and something we don’t want to do but are sometimes forced to do. At this point in my life, it was the right decision, and in doing so I have a whole new set of people who care about me and are fun to be around.
My writing has stalled a lot during the last two years, but I haven’t given up completely. I’ve had some short stories in anthologies and have another story in a Valentine anthology from the Indiana Romance Writers group which released February 1st.
Once I adjust more to my new normal, I hope the writing juices began to flow as opposed to trickle. Until then, I’m going to enjoy this change.
Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/…/lucky-valentine…/id6444009196