Like every little kid, I wanted to be a million different things. I wanted to be a veterinarian, a nurse, a ballerina, and the bride of Donny Osmond.
But, by junior high, I had settled on being a writer. But not just any writer, I wanted to be an international correspondent. I wanted to report from war zones, Paris fashion week, and any hot spot on the globe. I wanted to live out of a backpack and a beat-up old leather valise.
And when home in the USA, I wanted to live in the center of a vital, interesting city. I wanted a small, chic, cozy apartment with a great view. I wanted to decorate my place with an eclectic collection of hand-picked items that spoke of history and taste.
My future abode would always have fresh flowers in an interesting, original ceramic bowl. There would be a fully stocked bar cart for stylish drinks parties and intimate dinners.
I’d have friends, adventures and a writing career that allowed me a voice in the world. I wanted to be Edward R Murrow, Barbra Walters, and both Woodward and Bernstein.
Then, life threw me a left.
At 19, I married, gave up plans for journalism school and my sophisticated, scripted life. Then after almost forty years, life threw me another left, and I found myself starting over.
For the first time in my life, I built my own life all by myself. I got a job that I enjoyed, was good at, and afforded me a life of my own choosing. I made enough money so that I had choices. I put my name on the waiting list of my only choice, a historic cigarette factory built in 1874 that had been turned into a quirky, original apartment building. Each unit was different from any other—unlike the cookie cutter, slick apartments that sprang up around it.
I rented a storage unit and slowly purchased the contents of my new home from a variety of sources; antique stores, thrift stores, consignment, and conventional purveyors of furniture.
But all the time I doubted I would have the courage to make a break and strike out on my own. Finally though, I left my old life and although it felt like a fever dream hallucination, I put my head down and plowed through my fears and doubts.
That was almost exactly fourteen months ago to the day.
There’s a saying that is mostly used sarcastically: “living the dream”.
Gentle Reader, no fooling, I am living the dream of my youth.Instead of hard-hitting exposés and best-selling novels, my income comes from selling reliable automobiles with a respectable resale value.
But, I am still a writer, still contributing to the survival of print journalism. I may not take down crooked politicians and get the most sought-after interviews, but I am breaking stories (the first interview of a beloved Doctor Who actor after the announcement of a female actress in the role of Doctor, a deep dive into the little known and misunderstood Alpha Gal Syndrome, and I got to drink my way through Durham for a story combining cocktails and Durham’s 150th anniversary.)
I haven’t had any glittering dinner parties or cocktail gatherings yet, but I have good friends and hope. I love living in the center of downtown Durham. Every morning I open the blinds and marvel at the place to which life has taken me. So, I may not be living that original dream of glamour, intrigue and investigative journalism.
And I have The Kid, which is an awe-inspiring bonus I never pictured and a constant joy I can’t imagine my life without.
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