Sixteen Years Later…

It’s funny how you sometimes end up where you never thought you’d be. If you had asked me at my university graduation, 16 years ago this month, where I’d be and what I’d be doing in 16 years, I would have said I’d be in television. That’s because for years before that I had wanted to be a journalist. I wrote a lot, and then after my first year of university I decided to go into TV. (I said I wanted to be “the next Barbara Walters”.) And fortunately I was offered a job at one of the three big private TV networks in the country, Global Television in Toronto, before graduation. I had done an internship there, and so I had made connections and shown I was eager to learn and to work. It was exciting. I realized quickly that I did not, like I thought I did in the past, want to be a reporter on TV. My skin is much too thin for that. I care far too much about what people think of me. You can read a bit about that in this post about the movie “Frozen”, for Ketchup With Us. Anyway, I did a number of “behind-the-scenes” jobs at Global TV, culminating in a job as the “fill in” producer at Queen’s Park, where our provincial parliament is, and in a job as a production co-ordinator, working as a liaison between the news producers and the editors. They were fun jobs, albeit with a lot of pressure. And at Global, the more I asked to do, the more they gave me to do, gladly. It was pretty easy to get promoted: just show you’re a hard worker and willing to do any job (including getting up at 3 am to sit where there was a city strike, waiting for hours for a closed-door meeting to end!). My whole experience at Global TV was invaluable, but I made a decision to do something else. I was not a big fan of living in the city, which is funny because when I was a kid/teenager in my small town I dreamed of being in “the big city”. I thought I’d have an apartment somewhere sophisticated…AND a lovely little house in the country where I’d go on days off to write! I also wanted to make a difference in the world, and I didn’t think I was doing it with producing a weekly political show now and then, or editing pieces for voiceovers for the newscasts. I decided, on a whim really, to go to teachers college with a friend. Soon after we both got jobs here, at the high school in Wingham. And now, years later, I am a secondary school teacher on an extended leave with a hubby and 2 children, living in Wingham. Perhaps it’s the expectation I’ve put on myself to “be something”, but it’s definitely sometimes difficult seeing what my former classmates and former co-workers are doing in the industry, though I’m extremely happy for them and their successes. It’s not helped when teaching colleagues say, “Are you EVER coming back?” and “Why are you still at home?” I feel a bit lazy, to be honest, even though being at home is anything but easy. Also, because I am still that ambitious woman I work weekends and the odd days during the week at the radio station here in town. I don’t want to feel as though I’m just sitting at home, because, let’s face it, some don’t put a lot of value on that. Someone said to me, several months ago, “You’re too good a teacher to be sitting at home.” I remember a colleague telling my husband, when my son was 9 months old and I wasn’t back to work (we have 1 full year of maternity leave here), “Tell her to cut the apron strings and get back to work.” It was shocking. And so, partly because of societal pressure, and partly because of the pressure I put on myself, I sometimes feel like I’ve let the me of 16 years ago down. I haven’t become “the next Barbara Walters”. I haven’t become a successful TV producer. However, I have become “Mom” and have successfully produced 2 wonderful human beings whom I love more than anything in this world. I will never regret my decisions because of them and my husband.

 

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2 thoughts on “Sixteen Years Later…

  1. Enjoying the life you did make for yourself and setting that example for your kids is the perfect way to make the world a better place.
    Doubly so since you’re happy with those decisions.

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