In another life, I wrote a weekly newspaper column for Business First. It went through a few iterations, but in the end, it was a vehicle for me to relate the random experiences of my life to the business world. It was called “The Hook Up” for about half its life, but after a fun little reader’s contest, it was renamed “I’m Just Saying.” A few years later, in 2007, I left the paper and the column was shelved. I have to confess that I much preferred its retirement over being replaced with a new writer. There was way too much of me in there to just hand it over. That would have been like handing over my son to someone else to raise.
The official tagline for my little column was that it was aimed toward business professionals under age 40 primarily because, at the time, I was one of them. But unofficially, I heard from a lot of 40+ readers over the years who said they read it to keep up with the younger generation of workers. I took that as a huge compliment. I mean, influential people in the Louisville business community actually gave a damn about what I had to say. Little did they know I had no clue what I was talking about!
I liked working for the newspaper right up until the very end, when I grew some ambition and started to wonder what else might be out there for me on the job front. Yeah, I really liked the job overall, but I loved writing my column. I still miss it today. BF invited me to write some guest columns, and I think I did that once or twice, but it was just not the same....a little too bittersweet. So I haven’t done that in a while.
About once a month, I run into someone I knew through the paper or meet someone new who, when I say my name, spark recognition and compliment me on that long-defunct column. It’s not lost on me how amazing/awesome/humbling it is that people still remember it – and remember me -- more than five years later. Those 12 column inches each week not only helped me build a following of readers, but also helped me build a pretty solid reputation in the business community. For that, I am truly grateful.
I turned 40 in July, so if I ever held onto the thought that I could go back and reclaim my spot in the paper, that ship has officially sailed. That milestone birthday – along with some major family drama earlier this year – prompted me to embark on the Amy Reinvention and Reconstruction Project of 2012.
The ARRP is helping me figure out what’s really important to me, and what I want for the next 40 years of my life. It boils down to two things: I want to be emotionally, spiritually and physically healthy. And by God, I want to be happy.
The healthy part is pretty easy. At least, the action steps are pretty damn straightforward. Eliminate toxic people and relationships from my life (check!). Pray and meditate, with guidance from my support group (check! More on that later.). Quit smoking (check!). Eat a more balanced diet (check!). Workout consistently (Zumba and yoga classes, check!).
It’s the happy part that I am still trying to get my arms around. From a career standpoint, I would ultimately like to work for myself and free-lance full-time. I have free-lanced over the years when jobs fell in my lap, but I have never actively pursued clients. For the first time, I am doing that (hence, one of the reasons I created this website), so we’ll see how it goes.
Of one thing I am certain, writing my little ol’ column made me enormously happy. So the other big impetus for my new website is to start a blog….to finally create a new outlet for the stuff I would rant about in my column, albeit on a much smaller scale.
So that’s what Imma gonna do. It will be great if people read it, but that’s not as important to me as having a medium for my writing. My goal will be to post something in this space at least once a week.
I haven’t written the column in over five years, and my personal journaling has been sadly sporadic, so I think it’s safe to say I have a backlog of stories to tell. I am excited to share them, especially since I won’t have the “filter” that loomed over me at the paper. (Read: I can use profanity in print!!)
Here’s goes nothin’.
About Amy Higgs
A former newspaper columnist, Amy takes her random, slice-of-life stories to the web. After 10 years, she's still just saying.