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I Saw the Signs, Part Two

I Saw The Signs

It’s been six years since I left my career as a television journalist. It was a major defining moment in my life—changing course with so much time and energy invested. The decision was bittersweet. I felt free. I felt sad. I was scared out of my mind. A million different reasons led me to the crossroads. A gut feeling told me to trust myself and take a leap of faith.

I wish I could tell you I landed perfectly on my feet; that the transition from then to now was smooth. It wasn’t. So much of my identity had been wrapped up in what I did for a living, and it was hard to let that go. The experience stripped my ego down to the core and forced me to confront every negative voice in my head. Now, standing on the other side, I can see the wisdom I gained was worth it.

Today, I work from home. I write and speak to groups, and I’m a freelance host. My mom watches my young sons two mornings a week and my husband gives me the time I need on the weekends. I’m passionate about my work, and I control my schedule. And I’m doing my best, although very imperfectly, to juggle and embrace my blessings.

When I walked out of the television station for the final time, I had a vision of how I wanted my life to be. I’m happy to say it looks similar to the way I thought it would. It just took longer to get here than I imagined. And it’s not without its share of challenges and sacrifices. I’m living my dream, laced with a healthy dose of reality.

In news, I worked long, unpredictable hours. I thought leaving that environment would give me more time. I was married but did not yet have children, and I was clueless that being a parent is also a round the clock job. Today, no matter how hard I try, I still can’t create 25 hours in a day. I’m guilty of being too busy to take a break or to exercise, and when the stress gets too much for me, I can still freak out with the best of them.

I used to climb the ladder of success, terrified to lose my grip. Back then, I was working for the next promotion, better hours and better pay. Now I understand that everything I was seeking, I already had. My sense of purpose and personal value comes from within. I have reconnected with my authentic voice, one that had gotten lost under the pressure of daily deadlines, the noise of the newsroom, hairspray and makeup.

I still want professional success. The difference is, I’ve redefined what that means. I used to think success was a destination, always just beyond my grasp. If I wasn’t struggling, I thought I wasn’t working hard enough. And I believed if I worked really, really hard, someone would notice and reward me for my efforts.

I had good intentions; I didn’t realize I was giving away my power, expecting other people to determine my worth. Maya Angelou has said, “You did what you knew how to do, and when you knew better, you did better.” Today I know better — my personal happiness is my responsibility. I still have so much more to learn. But no matter where I stand, no matter my circumstances, I find peace in knowing I continue to have choices.

Part 1

Bio: Angie Mizzell is a self-employed mom of two boys who has finally realized she wants to be a writer when she grows up. Her work has been published in Skirt magazine and the Post and Courier. Read more of her essays and join the conversation at Angie lives in Charleston, SC.

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