I sat in my car, about to head back to the newspaper office, and I cried.
I had been editor of my high school newspaper, and my parents had spent a fortune on my expensive Northwestern University journalism degree, and here I was, finally working as a journalist, and I was miserable. I was lonely (like most cub reports who start in small markets far from home). I was bored (cub reporters break their teeth on tiny stories like these, which are far from the Watergate stories we yearn to write). I was broke (I worked at Victoria’s Secret on the weekends and ate one Taco Bell bean burrito for lunch each day).
After the tears, I drove to the office and wrote the story and then I went home to think.
If I wasn’t going to be a journalist, if my life plan wasn’t working, what could I do? I thought about what I loved – school, reading and writing, talking with others about the craft of writing. Then I thought about how I could do those things. It took more than a night, but I eventually decided to become a teacher. I could carry with me the parts of journalism I loved and use them in other ways than I had planned.
I’m not religious but I have always loved Psalm 30:4 – Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
The weeping, the sadness, the low, low moments are necessary. Recognize them and use them but don’t be fooled into thinking they last. If I hadn’t gone to see that dog, I would not have moved so quickly to a different path and found the joy promised me.
Joy is promised to all of us. Go find yours.