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I Saw The Signs

I Saw The Signs

I was 29 when I reached a pivotal crossroads in my career. I had a degree in Broadcast Journalism and had spent nearly a decade building my resume and my reel. Rung by rung, I muscled my way up the ladder of success with no clear idea where the top was, or when I would arrive. All I knew was that my happily ever after was somewhere just beyond my grasp. I just had to get there. Then I could relax.

I had become comfortable with the struggle. I accepted it. It was a common thread that helped me bond with coworkers over drinks after the evening newscasts. Getting together to blow off steam and complain about work was a way of life. The camaraderie got us through. One day, we’d have a better job, a better TV station, a better salary.

I remember the night I felt myself change. I was driving home from work at 4 am. A fatal plane crash had forced me to stay after hours, and I noted how reporting on tragedies always left me feeling a little sick. The small plane and the two victims were somewhere in the Francis Marion forest. It was so dark, rescue workers called off the search until morning. As I headed home, I noticed the night sky, clear and black. Stars illuminated my path over the Cooper River Bridge down to the interstate, and they seemed to be watching, calling out to me. The stars knew. And I did, too.

“Angie, what are you doing? Why are you working so hard?” I asked myself as I glanced at the digital clock. My husband and I had been married for several years, and we did not yet have children. We wanted kids one day, but where would they fit? At the time, we both worked in news. We lived by our pagers and at times, we worked on opposite ends of the clock. He would get home from work as I was getting out of bed to start a new day.

The prospect of starting a family wasn’t the only reason I was questioning my path. I felt tired, uninspired and empty. I couldn’t shake the feeling I was somehow missing it. The point of my life. A life filled with energy and passion. I wondered what it would feel like if I removed the brick from my chest. How would it be — to feel free?

A week prior, I had gone to my family doctor to have a mole checked. The mole looked fine, she said, and that’s when I started to cry. I told her how stressed out I was. Then I felt silly for exposing my inner angst to a woman I barely knew. She looked at me with a deep understanding, and I’ll never forget what she said. “I have children and I have my work. And it’s not easy. I used to think I could have it all. Now I realize I have to make choices.”

Back in the car, cruising down the highway in the middle of the night, I remembered those words. I have to make choices. I have to make choices.

I turned up the radio and began to feel a bit lighter. Suddenly, I was struck with amazing clarity. I whispered out loud, “I don’t want to do this anymore…”


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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