Home sweet home: the next chapter begins

I returned to Iowa City yesterday after a twenty-day, four thousand-mile, eight-state swing through the West.

It was a much-needed, but at times grueling, getaway — both for business and pleasure. Over the course of nearly three weeks I rediscovered the beauty of Glenwood Canyon; was awestruck by the seemingly painted and sculpted landscape of Utah; learned it takes more than ten hours to drive from Denver to Las Vegas (a middle finger is extended to you, Apple Maps); battled off-road enthusiasts and their toy haulers at 80 mph between Vegas and LA; worked hard, enjoyed many pints, and hung out with great people at the annual conference in San Diego; returned to Orange County for the first time since leaving; attended spring training games with Zee German in the Phoenix area; visited a meteor crater; stood on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, though no girl, my lord, in a flatbed Ford slowed down to take a look at me; and got a tiny taste of the bountiful wonders of Colorado’s brewing industry in Denver — all while I continued working. (Oh, the curse of being able to work remotely.)

Now I’m back, the task of beginning the next chapter of my professional life looming large ahead of me.

Long story short, I will likely lose my morning journal after May. Though my future with the journal is still up in the air, the best-case scenario is that my pay and duties will be cut starting in June. I may be able to roll with that for a short time, but it is not a sustainable long-term situation. Needless to say, it is time for me to move on, to do something different.

Sure, it’s unfortunate to lose one of my jobs, but I am looking at it as a blessing in disguise. I have been a journal manager for nine years and it is time to do something else with my experience, knowledge, and talents. A couple transitional options seem possible, especially since my other journal wants to keep me, but it is time to finally answer the question that has been vexing Bobblehead and I for years: “What’s next?”

That’s part of the reason why I drove to the conference this year — to think. I wanted the drive to and from San Diego to double as meditation. As the mountains, mesas, and dry, empty expanses of the American West passed by, I hoped to have an epiphany.

Thankfully, I think I did. It was not like the epiphany I had ten years ago, when I decided to move to California after college; it was not a “let there be light” moment when the darkness of uncertainty is replaced with an illuminating and assuring radiance. But it was a positive, persuasive thought.

And now since I am home sweet home, I have to take action. The time to think is over. It is time to begin the next chapter.

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