August marks my twelve year anniversary working with my dad. October marks my fifteen year anniversary folding t-shirts at Banana Republic. And for the last eleven years, I’ve resided in the same town. It’s fair to say I’m a creature of habit.
“Oh, this is for you,” the volunteer coordinator of the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House said when I plopped down in a chair at the front desk and readied for my shift.
“What is it?” I asked.
“A pin, recognizing ten years of service.”
The thing is, I’ve stayed where I am because I actually enjoy it. Okay, that may not be so true about Banana Republic. Just last week I almost shoved a hanger up a customer’s left nostril. With the intention of pulling it out his right ear. Annoying customers aside, my life is grand. But things need to shift as I set out to make a living as a writer.
“I put my condo on the market,” I announced to Leslie a few weeks ago.
“I might try to teach an English Comp class in the fall. This way I’ll have some options,” I reasoned with my dad.
My plan is to keep everything as-is through the end of the year. This will give me time to get my ducks in a row, my life in order. Plus, it gives my dad time to figure out how he’ll manage working without me around. Or to put it another way, it gives my dad six months to accept his fate as a retiree.
The catalyst for all of this change wasn’t just one thing. Ex pushed me to dust off the pen and start writing again. Alaska asked about my literary aspirations which led me to apply to graduate school. A guy I dated last spring pretty much inspired my novel. And let’s not forget the cheering crowd that is the audience of Life Goes On, I Think.
Now in the final stretch of school, around a week away from receiving an MFA in Creative Writing, I am forever grateful to those who have helped me get here. When I look over my shoulder at all of the people who have contributed to my growth as a writer, a lump the size of a Gobstopper lodges in my throat. But then I turn around, glance at the things that lie ahead, and squeal with delight.
Thanks, everyone! From the bottom of my heart, the bottom of my inkwell, thank you.