My daughter was lamenting the other day that she will turn 25 on her birthday in February.
Like, a quarter century.
She was overwhelmed: “That’s halfway to 50 and only five years away from 30!”
Bringing her back to reality, I reminded her that I am much older than that and 25 is not so bad.
We were on the phone as I was walking her (my) dog for our usual morning routine – the dog that was gifted to her and which, though she loves, didn’t move with her when she moved out of the house. No worries; I handled most of the dog walking/feeding duties anyway and Bella keeps me on a good schedule of daily exercise.
Regardless, both Ally and I did marvel at the fact that she is turning 25 and wondering how the heck has that much time passed?
That got me thinking back to the dark ages when I was that young and where I was, what I was doing at that age.
Actually, I vividly remember having my first ‘crisis’ of aging when I was 20; was working two different jobs, had my first apartment, a car and still felt that I wasn’t “accomplishing” enough. Both jobs then were part-time, as I was a family service worker for the Head Start program, doing in home visits and intake interviews for potential Head Start students as well as status checks on those already in the program. I was also part-time at a brand new radio station in the community, writing news and recording occasional news stories for use on the air. Enjoying both, the ‘crisis’ came in the form of figuring out what I really wanted to do as a career because teaching elementary school/working with kids was something that had always interested me but writing for a living had also been my plan for as long as I could remember, probably since pounding out a collection of short stories on an old manual typewriter when I was in the sixth grade. My brother did the illustrations (he was a gifted artist, unlike me, whose stick figure drawings don’t even look good) and I think there were at least eight or 10 stories. Where that collection is now, I don’t know but I do remember making sure I wrote every morning before school and spent time at the typewriter every night before bed.
Good training, it turns out, for what I do today.
As fate would have it, both part-time jobs developed into full-time opportunities and I had to make my choice. As much as I liked working with the Head Start program, I knew that moving in to elementary education would mean going back to college for at least a couple more years and I had already gotten great on-the-job training and loved the overall experience and immediacy of radio. So there was that fork in the road, the defining moment, the choice. Writing really had been my first love and having the opportunity to work in a job full-time where I got paid to do what I loved … it was too good to pass up. My choice took me to radio, a small daytime, hyper local station. The general manager had been through a few different people already in the ‘news director’ position in the six months the station had been on the air and he was willing to take a gamble on me. His reasoning: the other folks had all come in from out of the area and just didn’t seem to ‘fit’ while I was a homegrown commodity, knew the area, knew the people … I was worth the risk.
It’s a decision I’ve never regretted – I loved radio, doing news, sports, commercials, everything about it.
Newspaper work came along a little later and I was again blessed, this time with the chance to work for the editor who had been trying to lure me away from radio for years. Then the adventure continued when I made the move from reporter in upstate New York to editor in Central California.
Now, I can’t wait to see where my daughter’s path takes her. And 25 is really just the beginning.
Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times, The Oakdale Leader and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.