A significant part of my weekends involves waiting. Waiting for drafts to creep up the editorial chain. Waiting for a status report on that next potential Reporter crisis. Waiting for the designers to print out the next set of designs to proofread. I sit with my laptop propped up in front of me, classical music filling my ears and my smartphone on the ready, standing by for the next sign of progress.
This weekend was slow to start. I was sitting in my office editing printouts — a whopping two pages — when suddenly, everything went dark.
My laptop was sitting on a table in the outer office, and its battery was running low. My phone was nowhere within reach. Tripping on my shoes and spilling coffee all over my desk, I felt my way to the door. What was I supposed to do now? When the emergency lights kicked in, I collected my things and left. Little did I know that those two hours of darkness were just what I needed.
During that time, I was powerless. If articles came in, I couldn’t edit them anyway. There was no point in putting my life on hold for a problem that I couldn’t fix. The blackout forced me to relax for once, even once power was restored. I spoke to friends who I hadn’t heard from in quite a while. I played the guitar. I remembered to feed myself something other than vending machine snacks. I even made it out to watch Resident Evil 3-D.
My mind was clear and, for the first time, a dangerous thought made a nest in my mind. Why do I spend so much time on this magazine when I could be living a life of leisure? I pushed the thought out of my head, but it only resurfaced once I read our coverage of Gannett Project Speaker Matthew Crawford (see “Brain Tinkering with Matthew Crawford” on page 22). This particular line jumped out at me: “Crawford’s ultimate message is about happiness, and he sincerely asks why we break our backs to do things that may not be mentally, spiritually, or even financially fulfilling.” The question nagged my brain for hours.
I have worked at Reporter for over three years, and with each year, I find myself in a more stressful position than the last. The hours are long and grueling. The pay sucks. I lose sleep. I miss significant events and my friends have an entire Facebook album dedicated to Photoshopping me into their memories. I’ve developed an extremely unhealthy diet consisting of caffeinated drinks and junk food. I’m not even in a major that is related to the journalism or any writing field. It’s nonsensical but I love it, and sometimes love makes do you stupid, crazy things.
Editor In Chief