Friday, February 12, 2010

Great with goodbyes

As I pack up the room that has become so cozy over the past nine months, and, one by one, say goodbye to the wonderful people that have crossed through my life here, I find am having very mixed emotions. 

Yesterday, the office threw me a beautiful lunch and gave me a pen and a desk mug for my new job. Last night, I had dinner at Mama Maria's (who also happens to be my former boss), and this morning I'm off for the last Friday breakfast with the girls. Tomorrow, I'll head to Toronto for a weekend with some of the best friends I've met since moving here, who bought me new sweaters and scarves for my new job as a reporter about town. 

I have to say, I've done pretty well in the "meeting amazing people" department in North Bay. For some reason, these folks have come into my life, even if just for a brief moment, and for that I feel so lucky. Both my home friends and work friends have supported me through so much this past couple of years, including bad dates, family problems, good dates, and finally through this next step. Their goodbyes have made my leaving heart-wrenching, yet I'm heading off with such a sense of support, peace, and calm. 

There really are no words to say how grateful I am for every experience, every long talk, late night, wonderful meal, and great soul I've been privileged to here in North Bay. 

Except maybe, thank you. 

It's been real North Bay... from Kate McLaren on Vimeo.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Wherein the Jeopardy theme song plays continuously in the background

Being an adult is hard. More to the point, making adult decisions is hard.

I learned this right out of the gate, after graduation from university, a time when many people have a hard time making the transition from student to working stiff. I was sitting on a bus with a couple of friends after the final exam of my university career, discussing maybe the first adult decision of our new adult lives - what to do after graduation. One friend, a fellow arts student, was not quite ready for the working world, and was heading off to Brazil the very next day. The other, a science student, was taking a week to relax before returning to her hometown to work for the company her dad owned. I found myself torn between beginning my adult life and extending the no-responsibilities lifestyle I had known for four years. Sitting on that bus, I remember my Brazil-bound friend (who was apparently having decision difficulties of her own) wishing for a more concrete indication of her life's path. 

"Wouldn't it be great if life were like a game?" she mused. "All the directions clearly laid out for you, and if you take a misstep, a big red sign flashes YOU'RE GOING THE WRONG WAY!"

I have to admit, the concept sounded appealing, but in the end, I found a balance, taking a one-month road trip to B.C. before taking a job as news editor at my hometown paper. Since then, I've made many "adult" decisions - I've lived with a boy, bought (ok, leased) a car, moved to a new city, had my first real relationship and breakup, moved to another new city, paid my taxes (on TIME, I might add), paid the rent (rarely on time, still holding on to that irresponsibility), took a job having nothing to do with being a writer, discovered it's not so much the daily tasks that make or break a job, but the people around you while you're doing it. 

Throughout the past year and a half here, I have built a wonderful life for myself, with a great group of friends, amazing work relationships, basically one big family and home away from home. I was content. I was comfortable. I was just getting used to the liberty of not having to make any decisions when I got a call from the editor of a newspaper up north, offering me a job as a reporter. 

"Take a night to think about it," he said, as I hummed and hawed on the other end of the phone. 

My first reaction was NO. I was definitely not going to give up my life here to move yet again, to make less money, to leave my friends, my family, my four-day work week. Yet a little voice inside me was screaming "YOU HAVE TO DO THIS! YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO LOOK AT YOURSELF IN THE MIRROR IF YOU DON'T DO THIS!" 

So I did what any responsible, tax-paying, adult would do. I called my Dad. 

"I wish this was like the movies and I could tell you what to do," he said. "But this is something you have to decide. Do you want stability, or do you want adventure?" 

Well, that pretty much summed up what my Pop thought I should do. I went to bed thinking of long hours in a newsroom fueled by coffee, looming deadlines, my byline splashed across the pages of the Press. 

I woke up the next morning and accepted the job. 

Now that it's really happening, I'm getting excited. Nervous and sad and nostalgic, excited. Although I'm leaving a situation where I have influence, great friends, and a cozy home, I'm sure I will gain all of these things in my new life.  

Mostly, I'm proud of myself for the decision I made. Pretty much on my own. I even made a pro/con list. I'm sure there will be lots of other important, adult decisions in the near future, but I think I'm getting pretty good at it. 

John Lennon once said "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans". I think that life is what happens when you're busy planning it.