I get a funny look sometimes when I tell people I’m 50. I won’t flatter myself and suggest it’s because I don’t look my age. I probably do. So what? I’ve waited all my life to look in the mirror and not worry about what I see. Fine lines and sprigs of facial hair suit me just fine. I’m not a young woman anymore. And I am thankful for that.
Youth, as they say, is wasted on the young. But if you could go back with all the experience you have now and do it all again, would you? It would probably be no fun. That’s the trade-off for knowing better.
I had calamitous and fantastic adventures in my 20s that didn’t work out as hoped. I simply put a smile on my face and proclaimed oh well, at least I’ll look back when I am old and regret some things I did instead of a bunch of things I didn’t.
Which is not to say I am up for such capers at my now “advanced” age … except … First of all, 50 is not as old as I thought it would be. Despite proverbially “knowing better,” the rich wisdom of age in many situations eludes me. I’ve still got a lot to learn, even if I can locate the light switch in the dark.
It’s more that 50 is no longer particularly young.
Second of all, it’s never too late for a leap of faith, as long as you know approximately where you want to land.
For me, that was The Lincoln County News.
Because here’s one thing I know for sure after 50 years: I’m just a writer trying to find a way to keep at the craft and feed myself and kids.
Despite my M.F.A., I didn’t go the book publishing way. I had young children, and they required all my creativity. Without books, there was no hope of a tenure-track college teaching career.
Instead I found my way at newspapers. You can cover almost anything with a baby strapped to your back (or asleep in a car seat).
This business can be chaotic, unpredictable, and downright scary at times, but like a soldier on the field, I trust the flash of a pen in hand. As long as I can find the words, I’ll find a way.
So it will come as no surprise that during this holiday season, it’s this newspaper, the family that publishes it, the people who make it at every level, especially my editorial team, and the community that supports it that fills my heart with thanks.
The leap after all – at my age anyway – is all about the landing. And I thank all of Lincoln County for that.