The same photo has been the wallpaper on my phone for years now. Gunshy in a bow tie was the obvious choice before he died last May, and it never even occurred to me to change it. Until yesterday. I might have gone on gazing on my departed little boy a hundred times a day indefinitely, but another baby boy showed up in my family this week, and everything in the world has changed. When my sister shared a photo of herself and her two-day-old son at home in front of the Christmas tree, my heart exploded, my brain fell out of my head, and all I wanted to do with the rest of my life is stare at that baby.
So I changed my wallpaper, and now I can see him all day. I did it excitedly, without thinking, and I would be lying if I didn’t admit to having a little cry later, feeling mournful that Gunshy is now even more a part of my past then my present. But they were tears of happiness too, because I now get to have this precious little human boy for the rest of my future, and he’s more than just a photo on my phone. He’s an entirely new person, and I get to love his face off forever.
I made a similar (albeit less mortality related) decision recently when choosing to step down from a gig I’ve been doing for three years. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to do it anymore as much as it was that I’m simply too busy, and it was the thing that made the most logistical sense to drop. It wasn’t that straightforward, however. Becoming a news editor for Capital Gains was first regular contract I landed when I jumped into this freelance writing adventure three years ago. Without it, I know for a fact that I wouldn’t have been able to grow that (incredibly risky, probably not super smart) experiment into a viable career. Moreover, I love everyone on my team and don’t want to stop working with them. It was a tough decision. Super tough.
But there is also a joy in being able to make decisions based on too many good options instead of a range of dumpy ones. I’ve left a lot of jobs to prevent myself from punching people in their faces, or melting in to a puddle of misery. A lot of them. I cremated dogs for a time, people. I was an actual indentured servant once. In those cases (and in many others) the question was always “how soon can I get out of this” rather than “how long can I keep this up?”
Not unlike letting go of my daily interaction with Gunshy’s photo for the chance to giggle with joy at my new baby nephew, I’m stepping down as a news editor for Capital Gains without losing any perspective on how important that role was to me, and with excitement about new projects in my present and future. And with a deep appreciation for reaching a point at which I have to make tough choices from among many great options. It’s been a great year. Cheers to another one on the way, full of baby time and new opportunities.