“Mom, what’s that? When are those photographs from?”
“Your Dad took those. He took pictures for my first managing editor photo. It’s about a year before I was pregnant with you.”
Whoosh. I’m young, maybe 29 or 30. I am so thrilled in these shots. I’ve made it! I’ve arrived! I’m managing editor of a brand new health magazine! I get to write the “From the Editor” letter. OMG. It was a dream come true.
The glee caught in these photos is palatable. During my first editorial job, I’d often walk to my car after work and take a moment to just stand there and bask in my joy: I got to be a professional writer and editor. A boy I dated when I was 23 used to say to me, “I know your dream job. You want someone to pay you to write all day.”
So much has changed since then. So much has stayed the same. That thing that people say, about how you make a choice all the time with how you spend your time, it’s true. How do you like to waste your time? I like to waste my time on words, reading or writing and even editing them.
I mean, I like to eat Cheetos Natural Cheese Puffs while watching TV with my younger teen. I like to hike with my husband, listen to my older teen laugh. Talk too much with my friends at coffee shops. Admire textures and colors at the mall. But I also really, really, really like to read and write.
My daughter asks me about the pictures I found while cleaning out boxes in a closet. I put the on my desk for a reason: they’re a reminder of how lucky I am that I chose to follow my bliss. I can complain about what it doesn’t bring me until my face is red and I am crying. But it’s so much better to remember the bliss. There I am: me with my satisfied grin as my husband takes my photograph. I can still tap into that euphoric feeling I celebrated in the parking lot after work decades ago: someone is paying me to play with words. My husband tells me I lead a lucky life. He is right.