Dust, sweat, and cars

Ok, so obviously yesterday’s post (about Wednesday) did not happen.  Long story short, I cleaned the bedroom, re-dusted everything (oh my GOD does the dusting never end? I swear I turn around and things I dusted five minutes ago are dusty again. Ugh…housewives got it rough, yo.) As for yesterday, interestingly enough, the story why starts and ends with a car. So let’s begin, shaaaaallll we?

Yesterday, Joey kindly decided to let me use his car for the day, as long as I was able to pick him up for lunch. Naturally I agreed. (We’re kind of dorks, but we get weirdly excited when we get to see each other in the middle of a week day. Ah, young love…amiright?)

After dropping him off, I went out in service for an hour or so with my buds Jess and Heather, then skipped off to the post office to mail my sister’s wedding shower gift (you’re welcome, sis and future bro-in-law), along with some other mail that needed to go out.

It turns out that Joey got out work early yesterday because he has to work until nine tonight (ugh), so I went to pick him up around one. The plan was to go to a bank to see about a car loan, stop by his parents’ house so he could fix their computer, snag lunch, and start CAR SHOPPING.

So, we proceeded to do all those things. (Loan? Qualified. Computer? Well, it turns out something didn’t fit correctly, but he did all he could ***Edit: Apparently he DID fix the computer, the thing that didn’t fit was a separate issue. Lunch? Eaten.)

The first dealership we stopped at because it had good reviews online. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any white Civics, and as you may recall, those are literally my only two requirements.

Next it was off to a dealership where I had spotted a great little car on Cars.com. The car was still available, and still quite cute. We looked it over, took it for a test drive, and basically I fell in love. I mean, how can you not love that face?

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Sexy, right? I’ve already named him Benny. (For some reason, whenever you tell a boy your car is a boy, they get weirdly old-fashioned about all cars being female. It’s a bizarre phenomenon. Like, we all know that cars don’t actually have sexes, right? Besides, he looks like a Benny.)

SO anyway. I count that as a success. And now I’m really looking forward to turning 25 so my car insurance will be cheaper. Yes, I am much more cheap than I am vain.

Of course, I know what you’re all waiting for, so here is the current list:

1. Hang pictures in the dining room (yup, that was real)
2. Find places for the things that are currently living in the corners of the dining room
3. Organize “office” area of the living room
4. Clean off the top of the coffee table and the basket underneath
5. Clean entire living room
6. Shake out living room rug again (side note: We did this before my cousins’ visit, and it was actually kind of weird how much junk came fluffing out. To be fair, we didn’t shake it when we got it, so it was probably a lot of manufacturer’s dust.)
7. Go to Michael’s (actually went to A.C. Moore)  and have this really cool little poster I bought online (more on that later) matted and framed. (It’s a weird rectangular shape, so this will probably have to be custom.)
8. Finish frame collage above the couch (including the aforementioned poster, another picture in a frame I got at Goodwill, and a Ray LaMontagne poster I actually have yet to select…)
9. Organize shelves in the bathroom
10. Go through ALL my clothes and get rid of everything that I don’t wear/doesn’t fit.
11. Do likewise with Joey’s clothes.
12. Clean off nightstands
13. Find a place for everything that’s in that room, even if it’s Goodwill
14. Organize the hall closets
15. Once everything in the house is organized, scrub everything down
16. Learn to sew
17. Create a runner for the dining room table
18. Sew a dress for the Mad Men Feast
19. Mail my sister’s really overdue shower gift that I’ve had for literally months
20. Buy a car. Love it forever.

Not bad, eh? And I’ve still got a week to go. For now, we’re heading upstate with Brett and Heather to do some serious fall-themed activities (horseback riding, watching the leaves changing, shootin’ guns — for realz). I’ll be back with pictures on Monday. (Which is also the day Benny comes home!)

Have a good weekend, lovies!

Demolition and dusting

For some reason yesterday didn’t feel quite as productive, though I still got a lot done. Maybe because I was home all day and got a lot of TV watching in around chores.

Anyway, here’s What I Accomplished:

1. Reorganizing the hall closet.
If this was my house, I would do some major restructuring of how the closets are configured. There is nothing inherently wrong with the current structure, it could just be so much more efficient. For example, our hall closet has these built-in shelves (a good idea), but they are really too narrow to actually use (less efficient idea).

Fortunately, yesterday u figured out that the shelves are not actually nailed down, so u was able to slide them out a few inches to make room for some plastic storage drawers that have just been sitting on our bedroom floor. Win!

I also dedicated an hour to reorganizing the rest of it and putting away the various shoes and such that had been strewn around the living room. (No pictures of this because it’s really not that interesting.)

2. Cleaning the living room.
Not gonna lie, the joint looks pretty nice when you first walk in. I cleared off the coffee table clutter, put away anything that had been living on the bookshelves or couch, and dusted and vacuumed the whole place. As you cam see in the below photo, I even lit a candle for ambiance. My living room hasn’t been this relaxing in a while.

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3. Updated the “dressing table”
I use quotes because while someday I would like to upgrade to an actual dressing table, for now my cheap-o little book shelf will do. But look! Pretty things!

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(Side note: I really need a better camera. Apologies.)

I even found a temporary home for the sewing machine, which I plan to start using this afternoon. Exciting! (Probably just for me.)

So here is the list as of this morning:

1. Hang pictures in the dining room (yup, that was real)
2. Find places for the things that are currently living in the corners of the dining room
3. Organize “office” area of the living room
4. Clean off the top of the coffee table and the basket underneath
5. Clean entire living room
6. Shake out living room rug again (side note: We did this before my cousins’ visit, and it was actually kind of weird how much junk came fluffing out. To be fair, we didn’t shake it when we got it, so it was probably a lot of manufacturer’s dust.)
7. Go to Michael’s (actually went to A.C. Moore)  and have this really cool little poster I bought online (more on that later) matted and framed. (It’s a weird rectangular shape, so this will probably have to be custom.)
8. Finish frame collage above the couch (including the aforementioned poster, another picture in a frame I got at Goodwill, and a Ray LaMontagne poster I actually have yet to select…)
9. Organize shelves in the bathroom
10. Go through ALL my clothes and get rid of everything that I don’t wear/doesn’t fit.
11. Do likewise with Joey’s clothes.
12. Clean off nightstands <One is done.
13. Find a place for everything that’s in that room, even if it’s Goodwill
14. Organize the hall closets
15. Once everything in the house is organized, scrub everything down
16. Learn to sew
17. Create a runner for the dining room table
18. Sew a dress for the Mad Men Feast
19. Mail my sister’s really overdue shower gift that I’ve had for literally months
20. Buy a car. Love it forever.

See ya tomorrow!

Decor and Dinner

Well, well, well. I think we can all consider my fear of being unproductive on my fall break a big fat waste of worry. Because, today? Well, today, ladies and gentlemen, I killed it.

The day started around 8:00 a.m. when I had to drop Joey off at work (and I think I speak for both of us when I say the 6:00 a.m. wake-up call was not missed).

Then I made a run to A.C. Moore, where I dropped off a letterpress sign to be framed and picked up some hooks to hang the dining room frames.

Next, I went to Target for a little book shelf and some organizing materials.

Then, I hit up the Salvation Army Thrift Store. Can we just talk about this place for a second? I already knew that I loved Goowill for home supplies, but Salvation Army (at least the one by me) takes the cake in terms of furniture. I found the coolest mid-century Danish modern-stye china cabinet. Ugh. It broke my heart to leave it there. But it did get a large gold mirror, a gold frame that I’m going to turn into a jewelry display, and four wool skirts. (Um, hi. My fall shopping is basically done.)

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Next, I made quick stops at the fabric store for dress-making materials and couldn’t resist running into Marshall’s, where I picked up a $7 sweater dress and a jewelry hanger. (Obviously I’m on a kick to organize my jewelry.

Besides picking up supplies for multiple projects you can expect to see along the way, I also actually accomplished a few tasks yesterday. Including:

1. Finally hanging the pictures in the dining room.

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2. Finally hanging a curtain I found at Goodwill for the kitchen. (The picture looks a little dingy — ah the trials of using your phone’s camera — but you just have to trust me; I don’t know why, but this makes me unreasonably happy to look at every day.)

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3. Starting to pick up the dining room and living room.

(Sorry, no photo until it’s done.)

4. Beginning a “dressing table” project in the bedroom. Here’s an in-progress shot:

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So here is The List as it stands:

1. Hang pictures in the dining room (yup, that was real)
2. Find places for the things that are currently living in the corners of the dining room
3. Organize “office” area of the living room
4. Clean off the top of the coffee table and the basket underneath
5. Clean entire living room
6. Shake out living room rug again (side note: We did this before my cousins’ visit, and it was actually kind of weird how much junk came fluffing out. To be fair, we didn’t shake it when we got it, so it was probably a lot of manufacturer’s dust.)
7. Go to Michael’s (actually went to A.C. Moore)  and have this really cool little poster I bought online (more on that later) matted and framed. (It’s a weird rectangular shape, so this will probably have to be custom.)
8. Finish frame collage above the couch (including the aforementioned poster, another picture in a frame I got at Goodwill, and a Ray LaMontagne poster I actually have yet to select…)
9. Organize shelves in the bathroom
10. Go through ALL my clothes and get rid of everything that I don’t wear/doesn’t fit.
11. Do likewise with Joey’s clothes.
12. Clean off nightstands <One is done.
13. Find a place for everything that’s in that room, even if it’s Goodwill
14. Organize the hall closets
15. Once everything in the house is organized, scrub everything down
16. Learn to sew
17. Create a runner for the dining room table
18. Sew a dress for the Mad Men Feast
19. Mail my sister’s really overdue shower gift that I’ve had for literally months
20. Buy a car. Love it forever.

Welp, it felt like more things. Oh well. Guess I better get crackin’ today! See you tomorrow for everything I finish today whilst trapped at home without a car. (All the more reason to accomplish number 20…)

 

P.S. And in the interest of total disclosure, those of you who saw my Tweet last night about finally conquering my fears (well, at least intimidation) of cooking meat and potatoes (I usually cook fish, sometimes chicken, and lots of pastas and veggies) should know that…well…there’s probably a good reason why I’m afraid of these things. Despite following the recipes I found, neither dish really turned out. I attempted meatloaf and roasted red potatoes. The only thing I can figure out that I messed up was not using very lean beef for the meatloaf. (I was trying to use up three pounds of ground beef I had on hand, which is why I even came up with the idea of attempting it). The loaf kept dripping fat into the oven, which started smoking, which set off the smoke alarm multiple times. Even after I put a pan under it to catch the grease, it was still a smoky mess. The potatoes probably would have been fine with more cooking, but it got to the point that I didn’t even want to turn the oven on. Some of them were salvaged to be microwaved to complete later.

The meat loaf was a disaster though. The fatty meat didn’t really solidify. We ended up dumping it near our unit’s dumpster for the herd of wild cats that live around us to enjoy. It was easily my most disastrous meal ever. First day as a housewife and couldn’t even hack a meatloaf. Womp.

It will probably be a while before I attempt it again, but at least I can learn from my mistakes? Anyway, time to clean. See ya tomorrow!

My name is Listy Listerson

Soooo, you guys. Today is my last day at the current job.

Somewhere a choir of glistening angels is singing.

Of course, 40% of my excitement is because it means my Fall Break begins at 5 p.m. today. (Assuming they don’t let me go a little earlier.)

So you already know about all my plans for the break. I’ve even been thinking about a few more things to do (when I’m day dreaming about it), but I have this fear that I’ll get really lazy and accomplish nothing and look back and feel like I wasted the time. (Irrational fears? Check!)

Which is why, for Justine’s Fall Break 2011, I’m introducing a THEME to the blog. (Don’t worry, the theme will magically go away once I start work again.)

The THEME is called, “Here’s What I Accomplished Today.”

As you can probably guess, the idea is that I will post at least once every day, and I will have to tell you what I accomplished. The trick is that I have to accomplish at least one thing every day. So even if I do get a little lazy, I’ll at least be able to be all like, “Well at LEAST I hung those pictures in the dining room today!”

It’s, like, a totally genius plan.

I decided to make a big list of EVERYTHING I would like to have accomplished (in specific) by the end of Fall Break. That way I will not only have it more organized (and be less likely to forget anything), but you guys will also be able to keep me accountable with your proverbial judgement from afar.

Here’s the official Here’s What I Accomplished Today (HWIAT) 2011 List:

1. Hang pictures in the dining room (yup, that was real)
2. Find places for the things that are currently living in the corners of the dining room
3. Organize “office” area of the living room
4. Clean off the top of the coffee table and the basket underneath
5. Clean entire living room
6. Shake out living room rug again (side note: We did this before my cousins’ visit, and it was actually kind of weird how much junk came fluffing out. To be fair, we didn’t shake it when we got it, so it was probably a lot of manufacturer’s dust.)
7. Go to Michael’s and have this really cool little poster I bought online (more on that later) matted and framed. (It’s a weird rectangular shape, so this will probably have to be custom.)
8. Finish frame collage above the couch (including the aforementioned poster, another picture in a frame I got at Goodwill, and a Ray LaMontagne poster I actually have yet to select…)
9. Organize shelves in the bathroom
10. Go through ALL my clothes and get rid of everything that I don’t wear/doesn’t fit.
11. Do likewise with Joey’s clothes.
12. Clean off nightstands
13. Find a place for everything that’s in that room, even if it’s Goodwill
14. Organize the hall closets
15. Once everything in the house is organized, scrub everything down
16. Learn to sew
17. Create a runner for the dining room table
18. Sew a dress for the Mad Men Feast
19. Mail my sister’s really overdue shower gift that I’ve had for literally months
20. Buy a car. Love it forever.

Twenty seems like a good number. Of course, there will also be “attend sister’s wedding” in there, but I’m pretty much along for the ride on that one.

So there you have it. Obviously I will have to double up on accomplishments for a few days, but I think it seems quite doable.

I’ll try to post as many pics as possible to make even the dull stuff more interesting. Wish me luck!

The New Dream Job

Hoo-boy. Yesterday’s post was a doozy, huh? The more I read it, the more it dawns on me that to anyone who hasn’t gone through that, my revelations probably seem fairly obvious. But I guess sometimes you just need to write things down and fire them off into the universe to really get past them. And obviously I’ve lost a lot of my journalistic training, because if this was a newspaper, I could have boiled it down to a photo of me look frantic and a caption that reads:

I don’t want to do it anymore, not really, but I still love it. It’s realizing that just because breakups are hard doesn’t mean you shouldn’t break up.

But sometimes no matter how many Thursday nights you spend on the couch screaming at Ronnie and Sammi, you have to experience it yourself to actually get the message. (Yup, just compared my epiphany to the Jersey Shore. Admit it, you’re kind of impressed.)

The best part about letting the world in on your secret crazy is hearing other people relate. (Again, something Susan always knew.) The comments, tweets, and messages I received basically saying “yes, that is also how I am feeling or at least something similar” were more comforting than you can know. (Because I was legitimately terrified when I hit the “publish” button. It’s kind of scary letting people in on the secret crazy.)

But my favorite spurred conversation by far was the one I had with my friend (and former co-worker) Jaimie over gchat the next morning about what I’m calling “the NEW dream job.”

Basically, it’s that weird or random job that one day becomes what you day dream about doing when your career is driving you crazy. It’s the type of job that your go-getting 18-year-old self (remember her?) would have never dreamed of making a career out of. (Clarification: Not saying that any of these things can’t be legitimate careers. I legitimately fantisize about having these jobs.)

Jaimie’s were librarian, florist, or gardener (the last two mostly because they come with the perk of being outside when the sun is up). Mine were pet groomer, salon receptionist, and coffee shop performer. Or the TRUE dream job, salon receptionist by day, coffee shop performer by night. I sing, Joey plays guitar (and I always have great hair). Trust me, it’s just as adorable as it sounds.

So ‘fess up! What gig do you spend your long afternoons in the office dreaming about? Museum docent? Barista? Physical trainer? Toll both attendant?

The breakdown and building up of me

So, I have this blog post that I’ve kind of wanted to write for a while, but I haven’t really been able to put the whole thing into words until I finally hashed it out with my dear, dear friend Susan. Plus, it’s a bit heavier than what I usually post about (cooking, projects, awkwardness involving bodily functions), and Lord knows I hate going all existential on you.

But when Susan finally put what I was feeling into words for me (because it was something she had been feeling herself), it was immensely comforting. I’ve always been the type of person who has been comforted by the right words. I might know I feel weird or off, but if I can pinpoint exactly why (and write the crap out of it), suddenly the obstacle seems immensely easier to scale.

I guess what I’m saying is, if you’re feeling the same way, hopefully you get some peace out of a) hearing it spelled out and b) knowing you’re not the only one. And if you’re not…well…welcome to my journey of self-discovery.

Here goes.

My whole life, I wanted to be a writer. As I entered my late teens/early 20s, that dream gradually evolved into wanting to be a journalist. So we’re talking a dream that was a lifetime (albeit a short one…Lord knows I’m not that old) in the making.

And you know what? I was damn good at what I did. Right from the get-go, it seemed like I was doing what I was meant to do. I mean, I loved it, and I was good at it. AND I was successful. I moved seamlessly up the ranks of my college magazine. I got all the “prestigious” internships I applied for. I was even that girl whose magazine created a job for her after her internship because they liked her so much. I’m not bragging — I’m just trying to paint you an accurate picture of what my life was like when everything started to shift.

It’s difficult to explain to people who aren’t or don’t want to be journalists exactly what is so intoxicating about being in journalism. I mean, sure, they get the glamour of seeing your name in print, talking to famous people, and appearing on camera. But I’m talking about what it’s like to be in journalism. As Susan put it, “The salaries are low, the hours are killer, and the competition for jobs is fierce.” But, as she went on, “And to be honest, we were winning that game. Even if the success didn’t always feel like success, it was.”

And when you’re sitting at your desk at 9:30 at night waiting for an email approving the newsletter that has to get out that night, wondering if it will ever come, if you will ever get to eat a dinner that doesn’t cost 75 cents and come out of a vending machine, it’s easy to forget that you’re winning at anything.

Because you spent your last lifetime dreaming about this. About the seeing your name in print and talking to famous people and getting to appear on camera. You even joked cavalierly with your peers about how adorably poor and hungry and exhausted you would be, your voices full of pity for the ones who were settling for more “average” careers.

You know how people say things like, “I can’t pinpoint exactly when things started to change”? Well, I can pinpoint the exact moment I started having doubts about my lifelong dream.

It was 8:30 on a Friday night, and I had volunteered to stay late with an editor to finish a few slideshows and things that had to be done before we left for the weekend. I had planned on making a quick trip to Long Island for the evening (so in the throws of romance were Joey and I that even if we could only see each other for a couple of hour, after an hour commute each way, it was a better alternative to not seeing each other for two weeks), but my gallant offer had squashed those plans. As the hours ticked by (none of which I would be compensated for, just to clarify for those of you who have never been in the industry), I started to notice that my editor didn’t seem as anxious to leave as I did. I timidly asked her if she was in the office that late every night. She answered yes, and there was a note of questioning in her voice. As if she was saying, “Why wouldn’t I?”

Though I brushed off the feeling I felt then for the better part of two years, that was the moment. That was when I first started to doubt my decision. My life path, if you want to get all “big picture” about it.

But when you’ve spent every second since you were 18 trying to achieve a goal, it’s really, really hard to look that inner 18-year-old in the face and tell her you’re giving up the dream. Because it’s really hard to look at it any other way, even if you’re not so much giving it up as realizing it’s not your dream anymore. As Susan said (because she says things so much better than I do when it’s my problem), “I feel like the journalism world that I wanted to work in doesn’t exist anymore. If I’m going to work for little pay, I need job security. And I want to work in a positive environment, and I don’t want to see empty offices….I never though I’d be one of those people with a career change at age 24.”

And THAT is hard to realize because you’re essentially realizing you’re not that 18-year-old anymore. And maybe you know a little bit better than she did.

Before I go into the next part of my revelation, I want to clarify that I really am excited about my new job. I think I’ll have a lot of opportunities to be creative, and it’s not entirely different from the journalism I imagined I’d go into (or as Susan so eloquently put it, that used to exist). That being said, I’m not working for a publication. I might still write, but it’s not the same as reporting. So I acknowledged that I was making a shift in a more permanent way than I did with the current job (which, if I’m perfectly honest, I never saw myself staying at forever anyway). I acknowledged that journalism doesn’t make me happy enough to endure the downsides anymore, and I was okay with that.

And then last Friday happened. Last Friday, I was sitting at work when my phone rang. (Quick backstory: A couple of months ago I interviewed at a small publishing company. They were looking to hire a temporary assistant editor that they were planning on turning into a permanent position. I had two interviews, they really liked me, but they ended up hiring from within. Ok, you’re caught up.) It was the editor. They were hiring a senior web producer and had immediately thought of me.

It’s really funny how timing affects things. If they had called me two weeks ago, I would have taken it and stopped looking for new jobs (at least for a while). But instead, they called me all of one week after I had accepted a job I was excited about in a location I was BEYOND excited about. My rational side knew that the web job would mean keeping up the commute and probably taking a pay cut. My journalist side knew it would mean writing and editing a magazine and getting a title I hadn’t expected to bear for at least another five years.

I quietly explained how flattered I was, but that I had accepted another position. I later emailed her an additional thank-you, because really, it was extremely nice of her to offer and it it’s always nice to be wanted.

I was (am) still happy with the decision I made, but the niggling feeling of letting myself (or rather, my 18-year-old self) down prevailed. And then today, a friend who works for a magazine in the city sent out an email that they were hiring. Normally, I would have pounced on it, drafting up a cover letter and getting it back to her within the hour. This time, I calmly returned to my inbox (though I didn’t delete the email).

I know this is getting a bit “the lady doth protest too much,” but I swear, I wasn’t feeling disappointment because I wished this opportunity had come up before I accepted the new job. Even though I did imagine what it would be like if it had. And I started to feel weird and off, and I didn’t have the words to explain why. Until I started explaining the situation to Susan, and she put words to my inner turmoil.

I told her that I don’t feel like the same person anymore. After my conversation with Samantha last week, we both discussed how we felt like maybe we’re not journalism people anymore now that we know the lifestyle that it requires. And here is where Susan got kind of brilliant (I’m just going to quote it because paraphrasing brilliance is stupid):

“Matt and I actually had that same conversation, too. It’s one thing to say ‘I don’t care about money and hours!’ when you’re 18. It’s another to do it and be like ‘wow, I can’t live on this salary, and these hours are really killing my relationships.’ But it’s hard not to have that gut reaction. I even kind of had that when I saw you type that! It’s hard to do a 180. Because just because you don’t necessarily want to do journalism now doesn’t mean you don’t like it, or even love it for that matter. But you have different values now, and know other things are important and also demand your attention. And who knows? Maybe you’ll go back to it one day.”

Can I just say, Oh. My. God. Because that is exactly it. I don’t want to do it anymore, not really, but I still love it. And maybe it seems really obvious to everyone else, but it was probably one of the most striking and painful realizations of my life. Is that extreme to say? I don’t care, that’s how it felt. It was like, BAM. That’s it. That’s what you’re feeling. Those are the words you couldn’t find.

It’s not even about the terror of not knowing what you’re doing with your life. It’s not about the overwhelming feeling of “looking for a job” when you have no idea what you’re looking for. It’s realizing that just because breakups are hard doesn’t mean you shouldn’t break up.

While I was reeling, Susan kept on being awesome.

“But I also think it’s good. I mean, why am I making some of the decisions that I am? Well, because now I have a boyfriend I’m crazy about and I want to be with him. And you’re wanting to work normal hours and be in Long Island because you have a family!”

If I hadn’t met Joey, hadn’t gotten married (and assumedly hadn’t had a similar scenario with anyone else), I can say with almost no doubt that I would probably still be in journalism. Would I be happy? I don’t know. What I do know is that I am extremely happy with the way things did work out. And just because Joey is the type of guy to read this and think, “Did I mess things up for her?” (yeah, it’s pretty much the most important thing to him that I’m happy all the time…did I mention I’m extremely happy with my decision?), no, meeting the love of my life and pursuing that relationship did not “mess up” anything. It changed the game. The lifestyle required by journalism (at least the kind and level I was shooting for) is better suited to single people. There, I said it. Obviously it can be done in a relationship and even a marriage, but the relationships and marriages I saw people around me having were not the ones I wanted.

I wanted dinner with my husband after work. I wanted knowing what time I would be home so we could make plans with friends. I wanted to enjoy my marriage, not just check it off on my life’s to-do list. And no offense to 18-year-old Justine, but I’m pretty sure I’ve wanted that since 2-year-old Justine first toddled around with a Barbie and Ken doll.

So regardless of when it happened, there would have come this point in time where I would not have been satisfied with being a successful career person. And attaining satisfaction would have required a change.

And the whole “how would I feel if my life had turned out differently” business doesn’t even matter, because my life turned out like this. And I would marry Joey again this afternoon if I could. Jobs are going to come and go, but that man is not something you let slip away.

So why is there any inner turmoil at all? Because I loved journalism. LOVED. And I don’t know if I will ever love a job as much as I loved that. I think I probably won’t, because I look back on it like you look back on your first crush. And it’s all kind of hazy and rosy and you forget that he chewed with his mouth open and sometimes didn’t return your calls and ended up liking that girl who sat behind you in math better anyway. You just remember the good times and how he made your heart beat faster. (Does anyone else feel a little weird that I always compare careers to relationships? I feel like there’s probably a lot of analysis to be done there…another time. This post is long enough as is.)

And to be fair, journalism IS exciting and interesting and you meet cool people and you get to feel involved in the world as it spins around you. There are probably going to be people who read this and are like, “Huh? What are you TALKING about, journalism is the BOMB.” (Ok, they might not think exactly that. Because, as we have established, that is an outdated phrase.) But they are going to disagree with me entirely. And you know what? That is EXACTLY the type of person who SHOULD be in journalism. They probably describe themselves proudly as workaholics and brag about how late they stayed at the office and how many events they have this week. The love the rush of too many cups of coffee and smile pityingly at their non-journalist friends when they complain about the doldrums of the corporate life. They have different priorities than I do. And if they don’t, well, their own existential crisis is probably right around the bend.

But the fact is, it’s how I feel. And maybe no other job will ever make me feel as fulfilled as journalism used to (or at least how I thought it would), but nothing in the world makes me feel more fulfilled than my marriage and the family I have. I crave stability with excitement peppered in — not the other way around. In terms of domesticity, I’m somewhere between the exotic pet parrot and a housecat. But, to be honest, I was never really that exotic anyway.

I think the purpose of this incredibly cathartic blog post was to say, I’m giving myself permission to have a new dream. And I give myself permission to miss journalism while still understanding it’s not the right fit for me. I now have my permission to be happy even if I’m not doing what I used to think I should be doing. Because, you know what? I can be a writer no matter what my business cards say. Heck, if you’ve stuck with me this long, you’ve seen first hand that I am still capable of writing (even if it does get a bit scattered and ramble-y at times). And for my friends who are still in the business, hit me up if you ever need a freelancer! And if I change my mind in a year, I’ll email you.

Wow. If talking it out made me feel better, writing it out actually put me in a happy mood. To those of you who just don’t care, I apologize if you stuck it out to the end only to still not really care. Please accept this post about narwhals as my recompense. And for those of you that hear me or disagree but still think my self-growth is an interesting case study, thanks for reading.