Dear five-or-six-year-old self,
“I want to be an editor of books,” was what you said; I remember word for word. Your—my love for books endured and evolved. Now, twenty years later, the dream comes true.
I accepted the position with Penguin Random House in NYC two weeks ago, but haven’t written on it until now. Not for a lack of things to say, although my gratified and victorious joy would make my speech hasten and stumble out of my mouth. For crying out loud, this has been my whole life. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to work with books.
I’ve been in publishing ever since I got out of college, but working for one of the big five, and in New York City, validates my success to others and admittedly to myself. This is what I imagined when I was in school.
Before I sent my application, right before clicking submit, I had this pressure in my center, between my gut and my heart. That anxiety wasn’t the good kind that had put fire behind the sentences of my cover letter. I felt the weight of the costs and sacrifices if I got the job and if I said yes.
I know from experience how hard it is to start over in a new city. I’d made a happy world here: great friends, a fun fitness club, volunteering that made me part of the community, baristas that knew my regular orders. Every time I say goodbye to someone, I express my excitement with a smile to cover how I miss them already. Today I sold my cozy purple couch, almost the last of my furniture. I’m moving to NYC with a collapsible bed, a new-to-me more professional wardrobe, my books, my almost finished manuscript, and my cat.
Of course I am over the moon about the job—the dream come true—having worked so hard to the point of obsession to get it. But don’t think I didn’t push send, that I didn’t accept, without a dose of fear and loss.
The fear gives me hope, and that’s not a paradox. Fear and hope are two sides of the same coin. Feeling unprepared means I’ll change a lot as I adapt to a new life. Not just a new life, but what I’ve always wanted for myself.