By Joanna Grey Talbot
Whatta year. I have had years that were so bland and “normal” that I barely noticed they happened except for the change of the date on the calendar. Then comes along a year, like 2016, where so many big moments happened that it is still hard to fully comprehend them. This year brought changes to three of the biggest things in my life: my relationship status, my job, and my home.
I was an unmarried woman for 31 years. For 31 years my life centered around my family, my job, and my interests. I prided myself on being independent and opinionated and free to be spontaneous. Thankfully, I am still all those things but I now have a husband to share them with. We were married last November but 2016 was my first full year as a wife. It still feels weird and a bit surreal to describe myself as that sometimes. For years I wanted nothing more than to be a wife and now here I am: a married woman. Wait. What? I changed my last name, gained an amazing husband, and although everything that makes me me is still there, it is now a part of a whole.
At the time of our wedding we were living in north central Florida, both working full-time, and enjoying life with our friends and family. Unfortunately, this past May things at my job went very sour and I had no choice but to quit. I have quit jobs before but only because I was moving or because I had found a better job. Quitting because life at work was unbearable had never happened to me. It was a very confusing and frustrating time for me but I knew I had done the right thing. My husband, Cecil, had known since we were dating that some day I would like to consider the possibility of moving back to my home state of North Carolina but I had never put a date on it or considered it a deal breaker. It was more of a “if the doors open and we’re ready” kind of thing. After I quit my job I looked for something new in Florida but the doors weren’t opening so Cecil suggested we both look at jobs in Florida and North Carolina. The next day he applied for a job in Charlotte and within a week, after a series of interviews, he had received an offer. Wait. What??
Neither of us ever thought that things would move that quickly and were quite caught off guard. The offer was too good to refuse, though, and he started his job in the middle of June with us fully moving in July. It took a couple months for our heads to stop spinning and as 2016 comes to a close I am finally starting to feel at home in our apartment and our life.
After we arrived in North Carolina and started settling in we began to realize that my job hunt was not going as quickly or as easily as Cecil’s did. I had applied for a few and even been asked in for interviews but had received no offers. In the midst of my frustration and second-guessing of my abilities my husband made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. He said that if I truly wanted to pursue my dream of becoming a full-time writer now was the time. Wait. What??? I was stunned and grateful because we both knew that it would mean a cut in our budget but we agreed it was now or never. Writing has always been a passion of mine and has always come easier for me than any other artistic outlet. Yet, it is more than just an outlet – it is a part of who I am. Every writer’s path is different and mine hasn’t moved as quickly as I would have liked but I’ve only been at it full-time for six months and I know that writing is one of the things I was put on this earth to do.
As I continue to write my two blogs (feel free to check out my other one – Florida Revealed), start my novel, and work to get published in magazines and other blogs, I am grateful for the people who have encouraged me along the way and for my faithful readers of New Stories from Old Towns. So long, 2016.