Yesterday was the Big Day, the Giant Leap. It was my last day at Ukazoo Books, where I was store manager for the last two years. Throughout the day, my emotions careened from one extreme to the next, like monkeys swinging wildly through the trees. First, feeling the exhilaration of leaving a job that it’s time to leave, then feeling the heartbreak of saying goodbye to employees who have wormed their way deep into my heart … the little buggers. Then the monkeys took flight again: excitement, then fear, then laughter, then tears, then, well, you get the idea.
After I boxed up the last pictures and chotchkies from my office, I took a long quiet look around the store and remembered some of the best times and some of the worst. It’s been a tumultuous two years, filled with the hard work and frustrations that come with being the manager of a brand new bookstore. It was also filled with the endless enjoyment of being the manager of a brand new bookstore. I’m an unbridled book junkie, so being able to share books, books, books every day with employees and customers AND get paid for it was truly a gift. Amplify that with a group of employees who shared with me more fun, friendship and belly laughs than I ever expected, and it’s easy to see that I had the best job in the world.
Deciding to leave that job took a long time and a lot of thought, but I know I made the right decision. Some meddling misanthropes … Oops, I mean well-meaning, concerned friends, say I should stick around and hold on to a secure job until the economy gets better, but good timing has never been a quality I possess, so I’ve learned to take my chances when a new adventure comes a-calling.
The new adventure is not just another job, but I will be working, hopefully working harder than I ever have, but this time it’s for myself, as a writer. That’s right! I said it! I’m taking time to work on my writing and get back to the career path I abandoned 20 years ago when I left a job as a newspaper reporter. This time I’ll work on both fiction and non-fiction, and this time I won’t take for granted how much I love to write. If being a bookstore manager is the best job in the world, than being a writer is the OTHER best job in the world. Lucky me, I’ve been able to do both.
I’m going to be starting this figurative journey with a literal one when Max and I move to Arizona next week. Yes, Arizona. Yes, we’re moving in the middle of the summer, and yes, average temperatures this time of year range from 110 to 115. (You may be starting to see what I mean about my timing.) In the end it doesn’t matter when I do this, it just matters that I do it. So, I’ll do it indeed, with anticipation and gratitude and the excitement of beginning a new chapter (I believe it’s chapter 92 or thereabouts) in this surprisingly fascinating, complicated and ever-changing life of mine.