Teenage Angst

When I was a teenager, I spent far too much time trying to be filled with angst and not nearly enough really enjoying the life that God had given me. Considering that I am just over 5 feet tall (yup, truth is out!) and quite thin (in high school I weighed almost thirty pounds less than I do now), I definitely had the potential to be every bully’s target.

Yet I wasn’t. I had a very cool group of friends (some of whom I’ve had the fortune of reconnecting with on Facebook), and a real sense of who I was. I had confidence, and a way about me that somehow made me the leader of my group of pals. What I didn’t have was the life-experience to know that it all means nothing if you aren’t true to who you are – and who you are constantly evolving into.

Why so retrospective, friend? you ask?

I have a big decision to make with my life, and I promised someone that I would have it made by tomorrow. You see, four weeks ago I made the actual commitment to quit my day job – school workshops are earning me enough so that I can pretty much write full time. For any author, this is a dream come true – this is what we strive for. So what does a decision that I made four weeks ago have to do with tomorrow?

On Friday I’ll be working my last day as a full-timer at Kidsbooks. This hasn’t just been a job for me, this has been a completely life-altering experience. A little over dramatic, you now say? Well, in 2002 I moved 2100 kms away from my friends and family. I had no one to fall back on if things got rough, and I didn’t know anyone well enough to have a shoulder to lean on when I needed it. There were times when I needed both. But I did it, and I did it because I had a hunch that this was where God wanted me.

Then I came to Kidsbooks. Phyllis and Kelly gave me a great job – not just one that I was “good” at but one that they helped me to excel at. But even more than simply giving me a job, they gave me self-respect by treating me like a valuable asset to a team. This little tiny bookstore became the family and support that I lacked by having moved so far away.

It was at Kidsbooks where I met my publisher. It was through Phyllis that I met CWILL BC, an organization that I am now President of. Because of Phyllis and Kelly I met Cora Lee of CCBC, and sat on two boards for the Our Choice magazine. That lead to me becoming a book reviewer for the Canadian Children’s Books News. It was at Kidsbooks that I met the teacher who gave me my first workshop job, and no doubt because of the constant recommendations by Phyllis and Kelly that I became so busy with workshops last year that I was actually turning them down. Phyllis even showed her confidence in me by hiring me to do a workshop for a class that she taught at UBC.

I have never had qualms about quitting a job – until now. Kidsbooks isn’t just some “bookstore” job you work at because you can’t get another job. We’re a bookstore filled with PHd’s of people who love doing exactly what they are doing. This makes it hard to quit. This makes it hard to have to say to a group of people that I can’t imagine not seeing everyday, “My path has veered off away from yours.”

This is what it means to evolve and grow. To stop and enjoy what life throws at you, and to know within your heart that there are new experiences calling you.

So tomorrow I have a decision to make. Regardless of what I choose (and I’m not telling you exactly what it is on purpose – the three of you who actually read this blog will just have to wait),
I’ll be venturing off on another journey come Friday.

As a wise man I know keeps on saying, I have to decide what that journey will look like.

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