Sunday, November 8, 2009

Decisions, decisions

I know I hemmed.
I know I hawed.
I know I changed my mind. A lot.
I know my colleagues were calling me "Lori Favre."

And I deserved that.

What they didn't know was that, for the past close-to-a-month I have been in utter anguish over this decision. Ever since a co-worker posted that first clue on his Facebook profile, and then I went to my office to see for myself, ever since I saw that word for the first time -- "buyout."

I have hemmed.
I have hawed.
I have changed my mind a million times.

My immediate reaction was, fine. FU. I'll take my nest egg and go do something else. I'll teach. I have a degree in English, a minor in journalism and secondary education (and religion, but don't ask). The only thing I didn't go back then was student teach and take the NTE. They don't even give that any more.

I was sure. I was ready. I was actually excited about the future, about the possibilities. I thought about starting my own sports blog -- right here.

I started to say good-bye.

Then I started to mourn.

Then I began to doubt.

Do I really want to stop doing what I do? Do I really want to stop being what I am? Do I really want to change gears at this point in my life? Do I really want to walk out of that building and away from those people and this job and all that it entails?

I am one of the lucky ones. Yes, I cover games for a living, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm one of the lucky ones who loves what I do. I am a sports writer. And my husband just loves telling people that.

Sure it's a pain in the butt sometimes and difficult sometimes and not so much fun sometimes.

But the rewards far out-weigh the pains. I hate climbing the stairs to the press box, but I love sitting in it.

And, frankly, I think I'm pretty good at this. For some reason, the gods gave me this gift -- the ability to put words together to make sentences, and sentences together to make paragraphs, and paragraphs together to make stories. And an eye for the detail. And an uncommon interest in sports, even though I'm a girl. And an ability to put those all together into a career I love -- have loved, for 23 years.

And I found it so hard to imagine not doing it anymore.

I lay awake at night, my stomach churning, my heart racing, trying to imagine not doing what I do. Trying to imagine me in a classroom. In the front. Trying to imagine how my life -- and my daughter's life -- would change.

And I got lots of advice -- all different. A whole lot of people said I should take the money and run.

Run to where?

And then I spent a rainy Friday night at home -- my third in 20 years. And in between cleaning my house, flipping TV channels and taking inane Facebook quizzes, I scoured the Internet for scores and followed the game action on our web site.

And then I went to a volleyball game, and sat in the stands without a pen in my hand. And I hated it.

And the thought of a man wearing a tie telling me, "Your last day is..." just about broke my heart.

So, I've decided to stay on at The Times-Picayune newspaper, doing what I do. I will bypass the buyout and hope the future brings better news (and no layoffs).

I'm not alone.

We're like the passengers on the HMS Titanic. We know we've hit the iceberg and we're taking on water fast.

Many have jumped, taking their chances on an uncertain future without the life raft. And we know not if we will see them again.

And the rest of us are making Martinis with the ice cubes and hanging on to the stern for as long as we can.

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