It has been a harrowing couple months. I am not going to get into too much detail for a few reasons, but suffice it to say life was moving a little too fast and I was getting burned out and physically ill.
On the same day in mid-July, I came down with pink eye, a viral infection and was minutes away from heat exhaustion. My physical exhaustion caused me to come close to passing out three times in a week. I’m sure my body fighting off two infections simultaneously played into it as well.
However, in the past three weeks things have gotten much better. I am over my bouts of illness and the weather has begun to cool off, postponing my battle with the scorching gaze of Mother Nature for another year.
In the midst of all the craziness, I did send my resume out to a couple papers with open positions. One of them was the Edgerton Reporter.
I must admit, when I graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater I originally hoped for the Fort Atkinson newspaper position to stay close to my alma mater and my martial arts gym. When I instead got the position at the Sun Prairie Star, I joyfully accepted, and for the last three years I have driven to Whitewater for martial arts. The downside is the money I saved on monthly dues was swallowed up in gas commuting. But it is family and I love it there, so I continued with the hour-long commute.
But beginning Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, the commute will be getting much shorter. Beginning Thursday, Aug. 22, I begin working for the Edgerton Reporter.
The community is about a seventh of Sun Prairie, but hey, I grew up in Antigo, I’m familiar with the small town community. And Madison is only 30 minutes away. Let’s face it, with the traffic on Washington, it takes me about 25 minutes to drive 12 miles to my friend’s apartment in Madison. I’m glad to tack on an extra 5 minutes for faster moving traffic and skip the 26 traffic lights.
The benefit of a smaller community - oh hell, a community outside of Madison - is a much cheaper cost of living. I’m currently paying $840 a month for a 2-bedroom in Sun Prairie - no heat, electricity, water or sewage included. I’ve begun looking for places in Edgerton, and 2-bedrooms are running $600-$650, some with heat/water included.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Sun Prairie. For the past three years I have enjoyed living in a community that is bustling. It may not be Chicago or New York City bustling, but were you not listening to me earlier? I grew up in ANTIGO...when the nice restaurant in town has a fake deer on the roof and half your dates end with a walk around Wal-Mart, you can only go up. So Sun Prairie is a bustling, busy city to my perspective. The people are great and friendly and I have been blessed to grow and mature as a journalist.
But as I thought about, I had to consider one thing: while I love the fun stories I do, will it bring me closer to my career goals of covering military affairs or international news? And the answer was...I don’t know. And that scared me. I like settling in and getting comfortable. At the same time, I do not want to wake up in five years and realized I got comfortable and my life slipped past. I am OK with being comfortable, but I also want to move forward, and I feel like covering news and government in Edgerton will bring me closer to my career goals.
The shift is scary, but also exciting. Change is not something we should fear. Although it is hard, we must embrace change, welcome it, learn and grow from it. Nothing worth having comes easy. You must be willing to make sacrifices and face the unknown, but in the end, it will be worth it.