6 Things About Me: 2013 vs. 2018

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There’s a lot of flack about Facebook lately, and for good reason. The constant ads, the constant sharing of misinformation, plus, the whole Russian election interference. But there are some things Facebook got right, and one of them is Facebook Memories. The other day, my On This Day memories popped up and included a list of things about me from 2013. I read it with intrigue, as so much has changed in 5 short years! Most notably, I published my very first novel in 2013! Take a stroll down memory lane with me through the 6 things I posted in 2013, followed up with updates from 2018.

1. 2013: You all know I’m writing books and hope to become a well known author one day, living exclusively off my royalties. But part two of that dream is when I hit it big, I plan on opening a bakery/bookstore where I will bake all sorts of breads and desserts, and sell books written by local and small-time authors.

1. 2018: I am still writing books, and still have that dream of earning enough from my books to make a living! But I also have been humbled over the years on the reality of that. Back in 2013, I honestly though I just needed to write a few books and suddenly I’d have more money than I knew what to do with. 10 books later….sometimes I’m lucky to break $20 a month. It takes a lot of hard work to make it as an author, so much more than writing a book, and I’ve had to battle some serious doubt gremlins in recent years. My dream of making it as an author is evolving more into embracing the joy of writing, more than receiving a paycheck for my efforts, and this makes me super happy. That said, a former coworker of mine just received a 6 figure deal for her very first book, so the dream is still possible. 😀

2. 2013: The funny part about #1 is that I no longer eat breads at all. And I feel a ton better because of it. But I still really love baking.

2. 2018: I really need to give up bread. But man, I still think it would be awesome to open a bakery and soup place. I’d call it Soup and Stuff.

3. 2013: When the kids were young, I worked in healthcare as a CNA (certified nursing assistant). Beyond the gross parts of that job, I really loved it. I even thought about going further and becoming a nurse. The people I cared for became like my second family.

3. 2018: My CNA skills came in handy at the beginning of this year when I took time off work to care for my mother-in-law full time. There’s so much goodness that came out of that experience! First, it helped me to get to know my mother-in-law much better, helping us form a better friendship than before. The second thing will be explained in Number 6.

4. 2013: I never went to college. It’s something I’m often ashamed to admit, because I feel like people will look at me like I’m dumb because of it. I took a planned year off school after high school, and ended up on a different life path – raising kids and working full time to make ends meet, as well as going through some really tough stuff no one should ever have to go through. I took the hard way and struggled a lot because I didn’t go to college. And in many ways, I’m still held back because of my decision. But if I had gone to college straight out of high school, many things in my life wouldn’t be here – Summer and Lucas, particularly.

4. 2018: I can no longer say I’ve never gone to college! This is my third year at the SRJC, and I have only 5 classes left to get my AA. That said, I am BURNT OUT. This last semester was pretty brutal. I started with four classes, and quickly dropped two of them when I began pulling my hair out. The two classes I kept – history and politics – have been interesting, but intense. I have little energy left for anything else, especially writing. So I’m taking this next semester off. I plan to focus on the book I’m currently writing, which I’ve had to stop writing in recent weeks due to school. And I also am using this time to get my life back into some sense of order. My view on college has also changed. While I’ve gained valuable knowledge about things I never would have known, I no longer feel my worth depends on whether I have a degree or not. I do not feel that my time was wasted with college, but my goal with college is changing. Maybe it’s not a degree I need, but rather just taking classes that are in line with what I’m interested in and will help my goal of being a well rounded writer. At any rate, taking a semester off is the safest choice right now because it’s hard to make a good decision when I’m this burnt.

5. 2013: While I didn’t go to college, I did take all the required courses to become a Real Estate Appraiser. The market was just about to take a turn when it came time for me to take my test. My dad, who was training me, encouraged me to go find a different job. That’s when I started working for the Press Democrat.

5. 2018: My real estate influences have come full circle, as I now work for a real estate brokerage as their marketing coordinator. I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am. I get to look at houses all day, work with incredible people, and do work that feels more like creative play than actual work.

6. 2013: This might be a well known fact to some, but working at the Press Democrat was a life-long dream of mine. I’ve been reading the newspaper since I was a little girl. My favorite columnists were Gaye LeBaron, Michele Anna Jordan, Susan Swartz, and Dave Barry (nationally), to name a few. I would especially read Susan Swartz, and want to be just like her. I got my wish when I not only got a job there, but a few years into working at the newspaper, I got to start writing my Wine Country Mom column for the paper. But the other miraculous part of working at the newspaper is that is where I met Shawn. I know now that God had a plan this whole time, that everything was supposed to happen in my life a certain way – no college, raise kids early, figure out my mistakes and fix them, determine my life goals, get a job at the PD… for the part where I got to meet my soulmate, along with putting me on a path of writing for more eyes than just mine. Without this “bucket list” item coming true, my life would not be as good as it is now.

6. 2018: I no longer work for the Press Democrat. Many of you already knew that, but I still have people in my life who don’t. After 11 years, I wrapped up my newspaper career in the same week we received a Pulitzer for our breaking news coverage of the fires. It was a career I am so grateful for. I got my own column, met my husband, and evolved as a writer. And on my very last day, I even met my hero Susan Swartz, and got to tell her just how much she influenced me. But my job at the newspaper changed in ways that left me broken and depleted. What once brought me joy began leaving me in tears. My job became less about sharing stories and connecting with people, and more about churning out content at a pace I couldn’t keep up with. Any sense of joy I had for my job was buried, and I was constantly weighed down by the feeling I couldn’t measure up. I was surrounded by incredibly talented and educated journalists, and I felt like a hack in comparison – which is why I went to school in the first place, so I didn’t feel so dumb and so I could have the necessary education to find a different job. As for that reference in Number 3: taking time away from my job to care for my mother-in-law allowed me the space to recognize my worth, realize what I want, and gather the courage to seek out a new opportunity. Now I have a different job, and it didn’t take a college degree for them to find me valuable. That said, I still love the news, and I greatly admire all my former colleagues. I believe our country needs to embrace journalism because these are the truth seekers, and man, do we need those these days. I support local journalism as a subscriber to the Press Democrat, as well as national journalism through the New York Times, and I think you should, too – at least to some form of true journalism through the respectable news source of your choosing. Journalists truly are the fourth branch of our government. They ask the hard questions and get the answers we need to stay informed of what’s going on with our government, our nation, and our world. If we didn’t have journalists, imagine how ill-informed we’d be through lack of information and the spread of actual fake news, and how much more those in power could get away with. I could go on, but I’ll get off my soap box. 🙂

Wonder where I’ll be in another 5 years!

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