It is said that if one does what one loves then one will never have to work a day of one’s life. It seems to me we usually end up doing what we have to do, rather than what we love to do, in order to survive.
I wanted to be a photojournalist when I grew up. I wanted to travel the world, explore, meet new and interesting people, study their cultures, all while taking beautiful, thought-provoking photos. After high school I enrolled in junior college, met a really cute boy, dropped out and got married. So…
Eleven years and three children later I was divorced, had no marketable skills and I found myself working in a manufacturing plant doing something I was less than qualified for: running a machine bending sheet metal. I tell you I’m lucky I still have all ten fingers! At the time I took this job (2004), the economy had tanked and employment was at record lows. I had children to feed and clothe without the help of child support, so I had to stay put and thank God I had a job and my parents to help me make ends meet.
In 2009, I was laid off. So…now what?
I knew what I wanted to do, the question was, could I? I wanted to go back to school. I had no savings, and I was expecting only a small severance. I was down to only two kids at home but one of them was a rebellious handful of angry mood swings and the other was approaching her teens. No telling how that would go. We were still living with my parents and my father had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease just a few years before. I was turning 40 that coming summer. (Remember when you thought 40 was old? I was feeling it right about then!) Should I bother going back to school at such an—ahem—ADVANCED age? Mom and I sat down and discussed the “ifs and what ifs,” and then Mom said, “Just do it. Do it now while you have Dad and me here to back you up.”
That was settled, but what would I pursue? What was I good at? I had no clue, but I enrolled anyway. Pretty soon I was getting hearty kudos from my English professor. Apparently, I could write. And then I remembered a dream I once had, way back in high school, of wanting to be a photojournalist. I joined the school paper the next semester and I got a few accolades there, too.
So, here I am, still working on my bachelors in journalism and mass communications and finding the old adage I cited at the beginning of this blog to be true. In addition to rediscovering my dream of writing, I have found that I am also pretty good at editing. I’ve picked up a couple authors who have entrusted their manuscripts to me so now I am a professional editor. My dear friend, KaiCarra, recently blessed me by asking me to be a part of her team and here I am having more fun than I ever dreamed imaginable! No, I do not feel like I am working, therefore, the adage MUST be true!
My angry son is a little less angry and my daughter is a full blown teenager now but she’s handling it with grace and dignity. Dad is in pretty bad shape and steadily declining, but we keep him as comfortable and spoiled as we can. Mom has been my biggest cheerleader and I am truly blessed to have her on my team. Juggling school, being a mom and being a caregiver to my dad has been hard, make no mistake, but I wouldn’t trade any of it. I am pursuing a dream I gave up a long time ago and I am succeeding. It is never too late.

Thank you, KaiCarra, for this opportunity to work with you and the other wonderful writers on your team!

Heather Jamieson-Brown