It has been one year to the day since I got the biggest (thus far) shock of my life. And despite my terror at the time, I’m not dead yet (nor scooping ice cream for a living, as I did when I was 16).
In late 2012, I was promoted to editor at Popular Woodworking Magazine and thought I’d retire from that at age 65 or so; the end came sooner than expected. (And on Dec. 6, 2017, I had the mother of all hangovers – not the best coping mechanism for anxiety and fear, and a terrible waste of good bourbon.) I’d been with Popular Woodworking for 12 years, and with the parent company for 19. When I joined the magazine in 2005, I planned to stay for maybe five years as I earned a Ph.D., then pursue a career in teaching. But to my surprise, I fell in love with woodworking, and sharing woodworking education and information to help people develop skills that translated into tangible objects. I hadn’t thought about a new career – and on the cusp of 50 at the time, how was I going to find one? And did I want to?
I do not do well in a corporate structure. I’ve never been afraid to stand my ground, or speak what I see as the truth to power…but I’ve never learned to do that in a politic manner. While I don’t actually know what led to my leaving, I’m sure my inability to blithely follow directives made the corporate decision easier. And despite feelings of failure, I also felt relief. I was tired of fighting.
So my trepidation notwithstanding, and with the unflagging encouragement and help of Christopher Schwarz and John Hoffman (who have my eternal gratitude), I decided to stick with the old career, but on my terms.
Thanks to your support I write and edit in my home office, with cats on my lap and in my pajamas if I like; I can pop over to the Lost Art Press shop or my basement shop to build things; I can still pay the mortgage and feed said cats.
Thanks to you, I don’t have to sit in corporate meetings or ever write another employee review; I’ll never ask, “do you want fries with that?”; and I have the luxury of swimming or sinking by my own decisions (and if I do go terribly wrong, well, I can still make a mean milkshake).
Thank you for taking my classes, for reading things I’ve written and edited, for buying books. I tape every package and make every trip to the post office filled with gratitude.