Winds of change (or other cliché titles)

When I was 15, I attended a youth leadership conference in Louisville as part of the media team.

And that was it — I was hooked on telling stories and covering events not everyone could attend or understand.

My parents gave me a DSLR for my 16th birthday, I joined the high school newspaper as a photographer my junior year and was editor my senior year. I took the broadcast class, worked hand-in-hand with the yearbook editor and settled on studying photojournalism at Western Kentucky University in 2009. A quick switch to news and editorial journalism in 2011 was followed by a design internship in Nashville and then a move to Seneca, S.C., where I happily started my official journalism career.

I say all that to say this — I’m jumping ship.

The thought is completely terrifying and simultaneously so exciting.

Wednesday will be my last day in the news production world, and Monday I begin my career in the world of real estate and marketing. It’s an opportunity that honestly kinda landed at my feet — leaving The Journal hadn’t really crossed my mind until this position was presented to me earlier this summer. An accidental networking event lead to me being asked to take this position before it was truly even open. I’m so glad I decided to branch out and try out for a play back in January — it meant my meeting my future employer.

Taking on the role of what is initially “listing coordinator” for the Les Walden Real Estate Team — whose office is literally four minutes from my house — means normal hours (read, I have to become a morning person. Insert tears here) and regular holidays, which translates to more time with my family. It also means I get to take pictures of houses, write about them and pretend my life is one giant episode of House Hunters. I’ll get to help people find the home where they’ll first live as a married couple, bring home their new baby or spend their retirement living out their golden years, and that plus HGTV is right up my alley.

In debating whether or not it was worth it to leave journalism — essentially what I’d focused on for the last eight years — my focus remained on my family. Unless God is hiding the man of my dreams somewhere in Seneca and I’m supposed to start a family of my own here … my family is too dad gum far away.

I don’t think I’m walking away from journalism forever. I’ve made two trips to DC specifically to visit Newseum, for crying out loud. But I feel God placed this opportunity in my lap and it’d be crazy not to take it. It puts another career field in my path and ultimately makes me a bigger asset for any job I want to apply for on down the line — and those jobs will be closer to my family.

I think I’m trying to convey what a difficult decision this was for me, and I also think I’m not doing a great. It doesn’t really feel like it’s truly happening yet, and I’m worried when I get home Wednesday I’ll have the biggest meltdown yet.

But that’s ok, because when I wake up (at the butt crack of dawn) Monday, I’ll be ready to tackle a new office, a new adventure and a new career.

And, of course, the task of choosing which pictures of Cooper and Millie will decorate my desk.

In true stress-baker fashion, I turned in a resignation cake. That’s right. Not a letter … a cake.

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