I have done difficult things. I have watched a loved one take her last breath. I have helped a cherished old dog be rid of his pain forever. On a vastly different level of difficulty, I have scaled mountains, swum oceans, and run a marathon, tipsy, dressed as a shark. On Tuesday, the hard thing I did was quit my job.
Please understand, this was a dream job. In my 15 years as a reporter and editor at theheart.org, I wrote upwards of 2300 stories, almost all of them about heart disease — the ways it kills us and the ways we try to thwart it. I’ve covered roughly 100 medical congresses in 14 countries on three continents. I’ve won awards for my work. I’ve interviewed some of the world’s smartest, most caring physicians and scientists, and exposed others who let money or ego get the better of them. I’ve worked alongside exceptional journalists and bloggers who taught me anything worth knowing about health reporting, as well as making it fun and (yes) exciting. For the last five years, I was the editor for a group whose phenomenal work, I was astonished to find, gave me as much pride as if I’d penned it myself. Leaving them is the hardest part.
What now, you ask. What now?
I’m going to write. I’m going to ride my bike and run on the mountains. I’m going to spend time with the people and animals I love. I’m going to clear my head of cloudy things, ideally by putting them down in print. I’m going to take some classes. I’m going to eat my greens and drink great wine, in moderation. I may travel, but if I don’t, I know I’ve been fortunate to have seen as much of the world as I have already — more than most people do in a lifetime.
In the months to come, I hope to have something to show for my time away from cardiovascular disease and hope, equally, to have not acquired it myself. I don’t know where I’ll be a year from now, but hope those of you who’ve followed my work so closely in the past will wonder what happened to me and will watch out for what I do next. I have every intention of making it amazing.
(Miss me? You can contact me here.)