I'm taking this opportunity, at the start of 2013, to tell some of my story here on the blog. Many of you have suggested that I write a book, and in these blog posts, I'm hoping to work out pieces that could become that book.
I grew up in New London, CT. Peter grew up in Ashaway, RI. After three life-altering events in 2006-2007, Peter and I decided to move from our home in New York back to the area that, at that point, we called home.
So I searched and searched and finally found a job as editor of a paper in Rhode Island. We bought a house in Ledyard, packed up seven dogs, four cats and an inordinate amount of stuff and moved.
My job was had been eliminated in April 2007; I was hired in August. That's four months. Never in my two decades in newspapers had I thought I'd have to look for four months before I found a job. In the past, once I decided it was time to move on, I usually had an interview in three days, and a job offer a week or so later - if it even took that long.
Now, I realize, four months was nothing. Friends of mine whose newspaper jobs were eliminated after mine have spent years looking for a job. But at the time, it felt like an eternity.
And in that eternity, it felt like my life was over.
For years, for decades, I had defined myself through my work, and, honestly, through excellence in my work. As much as I knew that I hadn't been fired, that the elimination of my job had nothing to do with the quality of my work, as much as I knew that, it was still impossible to truly believe it.
So in those months, I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself. And I spent a lot of time painting. I made a lot of paintings. I started with pets, then found plein-air painting - and I fell in love with it.
To this day, there's little in life that makes me happier than standing in a gorgeous landscape, feeling the sun (or wind or snow) on my face, smelling the air and working to capture all of that on canvas.
As I painted through the spring, and painted through the summer, I healed. I began to realize that I could get through my life without my mother, though it would never be as sweet. I began to realize that I was more than my job.
And I began to get glimpses of a better future.