I don’t spend a lot of time on LinkedIn these days. I do read the weekly update emails, and, occasionally, click through. Not necessarily because I think a new position among my connections will help me with what I’m currently doing (especially as I’m not entirely sure what that is anyway), but because most of my connections are also friends and I’m genuinely curious about how their careers are progressing.
I used to click through more frequently, but after about the twentieth time that an “updated their education” link sent me to a profile where I spent five minutes trying to determine what imperceptible change had been made, I decided that my time was better spent on the big events.
But a couple of weeks ago the update was by a very wide margin the most interesting I had ever received. It was recommended that I send congratulations to a former coworker who was listed as cofounder and editor-in-chief of what appeared to be a newspaper. Clicking through to LinkedIn and then doing a little Googling I discovered that indeed my former coworker had founded and was running a weekly small city newspaper.
As someone who is currently deciding how to come to terms with my great desire to write, but small amounts of time and energy to do so, I was overcome by conflicting emotions.
Primarily, I was excited for him. He and I had summer interned together, and then started working for real at the same time after we graduated from law school. We worked together for a few years until he and his wife decided to move back to the town where they went to college and met. I was really sad to see him go, because where I worked was the sort of place where people stayed for whole careers, and so I wasn’t used to losing coworkers. And, he was just a great guy.
I followed him over the years through occasional emails, word-of-mouth from people who were a little closer to him, and then through LinkedIn and the blog he eventually started. He first went to work for a small firm, and after a couple years hung out his own shingle. A few years later he and his wife decided to travel the world and that was the last I had heard. And so I was excited to see what he was doing next, and I was pleasantly surprised that he was embarking on this endeavor.
I was excited to hear that he had started a newspaper, despite the supposed death of print journalism, because it seemed like such a fun and exciting and him thing to do. I offered him my sincere congratulations.
The other emotion that was flooding in, was a bit mushier, though, and harder to pinpoint. It wasn’t envy or anything like that, but more of a realization that I would probably never do such a thing. It seemed so brave.
I was trying to articulate that to my husband who pointed out that I am (and we are) risk averse. And it’s true. I’ve use the expression “a bird in hand is worth two in the bush” at least three times in the last couple of weeks!
But upon further reflection, what I’m doing right now is a little bit brave and risky, at least for me. I never expected that I would leave my secure job to be a stay-at-home mom and as a bonus get the space, if not always the time, to figure out if I want to be a “writer,” and what that means and looks like.
That’s kind of insane, right?
But here I am, doing it, trying to make it work on a very casual, toe-dipping manner, and really excited about how good it could become.
Maybe it’s not “risky” because I don’t have much to lose other than my time. That is, if my writing doesn’t go anywhere, then I’m no worse off than if I never wrote a word. But I do think it takes a little something to put your words out there for the world to see, and I’m glad I’m doing even if it’s a little scary. And it’s a reasonable scale given that I’m still adjusting to spending my days with a toddler (preschooler?!) and an increasingly mobile infant.
So I’m okay that I didn’t start a newspaper or something larger than my own blog. Because, for me, right now this is enough.