|Courtesy Corbis Images|
See, the emotions stem from several places. He moved his way up at the station from being the guy who posts stories to the web to the guy who assigns stories and works as the assistant news director to a full-blown anchor (mind you, while still wearing all of those other hats). As have a few others, I see that he has given not just the six very long years to the place, but he has had years shaved off the end of his life with the stress that has accrued. It has been challenging, to say the least, to watch the once vivacious man I knew beaten down into the ball of nerves and anxiety-driven ailments. It was time for him to recapture his life. I'm happy to say, as his final workday came and passed, the responsibilities that visibly weighed his shoulders melted away and his old self seems to be reemerging.
I know that there are some bittersweet aspects to this change for him and us, and more so for many who have known him in a "local celebrity" role (one which he has always been humbled by and kindly about, but that has messed a little with his mind; I imagine it would for anyone). As with everything else, he has dealt with this change with his head held high, proud of the work he has achieved and happy about the friends he made, yet unapologetic that he will now have a much less stressful day to contend with and easier hours with which to cherish life, his family (yay!), and his creative endeavors. Plus, the college is an incredible place to work, especially with its growing opportunities in fields that will make our area and America's future brighter. It's practically a dream come true after all the stress he's endured. It's well-deserved and was hard-won.
We realize that many folks will question this change. It brings us to discuss the meaning of "success" and recognize that this holds a different meaning for everyone. While he has been exceptionally proud of the work he has done (be it his coverage of the brewery fire - our first broken date, the first time that I realized I'd be up against many more disappointments that turned into opportunities for him, and would have to learn to deal with them - the shootings in "the valley", his daily anchoring of the noon, or those countless forgettable spots or middle-of-the-night runs to get a tornado, flood, blizzard or fire covered), being on television does not equate success.
One's pride in one's work and the ability to enjoy a work-life balance is what means the most to us. To others, just the idea of being on TV for thousands to see is success. There is not one right or wrong way to live life, and to each his own.
We know that it will be a tough transition and don't expect all of our worldly problems to be answered by the change. (Nothing's that perfect!) But, I can't wait to see the work he's able to do here, with the luxury of TIME to perform it properly. The wonderful thing about enduring a high-stress situation is that the simple things seem so much sweeter.
He's already appreciating that he'll be getting an actual daily lunch (like, taking time away from work to...y'know...eat), and, although it's a basement area, he'll have his own office - he's chomping at the bit to have his own phone, to decorate, and to close the door if he needs some privacy. Even a far-off parking spot gives him happiness that he'll get to walk on the beautiful campus everyday.
But, the biggest amenity is his time. We are beyond lucky for all the extra time (including the time he's not busy worrying about work) that we, as a family, will get to spend with our Dorky Daddy. He was already the best father I've ever seen; now where only his heart was, his mind and actions will be. And all the creative ideas, be they general writing, film or theater, can now have time to percolate and find their way to reality. I'm so excited for him! Can't you tell?
Let me just take the opportunity to say, above all else...I'm still his biggest fan. :-) Signing off.