Column – Goodbye is never easyTotally changing your life is not easy. Neither is saying goodbye. Today I am doing both.
By: Jo Colvin, Alexandria Echo Press
Totally changing your life is not easy. Neither is saying goodbye.
Today I am doing both.
Today marks the end of my career at the Echo Press. At 4 p.m. I am turning in my keys, walking out the door and starting the next chapter of my life. It’s a bittersweet feeling. I’m excited to be moving on, taking a chance, doing something different. But I’m sad about leaving all that this job has become for me – an opportunity to nourish a talent I didn’t know I had; the chance to meet some of the most interesting, amazing, brave and kind individuals; and a place where my co-workers have become my friends.
I started at the Echo 16 years ago as a receptionist/classified ad rep. A couple years later I moved into proofreading. Then eight years ago, on a whim, with no education to back me up, I applied for a writing job for the Life section of the newspaper.
They turned me down.
But when the person they hired quit, I was asked to fill the position immediately. It was a chance that changed my life – for the better. I would say it was a turning point.
My job writing feature stories has opened up a whole new world for me. I have done things I otherwise never would have – I’ve gone trapping, made maple syrup, took a ride in a WWII open cockpit airplane, planted garlic, I was a beekeeper for a couple hours, the list is endless. I’ve learned about a plethora of topics from taxes to diseases, from fish carving to the court system. I’ve heard the funniest stories – like a chicken that fell in love with a dog and a turkey that was a family pet. I don’t think any other job can provide the variety of learning experiences and amusing anecdotes that this one has. And I don’t think any other job would introduce you to so many different people, many of whom have become friends.
I have learned so much about so many – their talents and trials, their tragedies and triumphs. I’ve learned that everyone really does have a story to tell and I’ve learned that basically, most people are good. It has often renewed my faith in the decency of mankind.
Best of all, I have learned about myself. I have gained a confidence that I never had before. I found that one thing in life that I can say I’m fairly good at. I have found what others tell me is my “niche.” I don’t know why, but I’m always surprised to hear that people read my stuff, and sometimes even like it. I’m still amazed and honored when people stop me in public, sometimes people I don’t even know, to tell me how much they liked a certain story or column I had written. It’s humbling to say the least. And it has been a great feeling.
As much as I enjoy what I do, I also know that it’s time for a change. For three years I have been saying that when my youngest graduates, it’s time for me to move on, up, over, wherever – a place where there is a new challenge. My son graduated in June, and no one is as surprised as I am that I’m actually going to do it. On August 22, I will officially be a full-time college student. In two years, I will be in a completely different work setting – the medical field. I can’t wait to start learning.
I will never regret my time here and will always be grateful for the opportunities being a writer gave me. I sincerely want to thank every person out there who has ever read a word of what I have written, every person who has given me a single word of encouragement (and there are many), and every person who has ever trusted me enough to let me share their stories with others. I will never forget or take for granted what it has done to enrich my life.
Eight years ago I sat down and wrote my first Our Turn column, saying hello to all my potential readers. Today, I am writing my last, saying goodbye. Goodbye is never easy, no matter what exciting things are in the future – it’s much too final. So for now, I think I’ll just leave you with this…
“I’ll see you later.”
“It’s Our Turn” is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.