One Year of Being a Grown Up

It is absolutely incredible how much life can change in one year.

Today, one year ago, was my final day as a bookstore cashier.  I greeted customers more enthusiastically than usual.  I cleaned the shelves and countertops a little more thoroughly.  I even waved at the scornful duty manager who patrolled the store.  It was bittersweet, but I was ready for it.

During this time, we were never truly poor, but we did have to be careful.  We didn’t have cable; we scoured newspapers for coupons; and we never bought anything other than groceries, emergencies, and gifts for family and friends (and an occasional $5 movie from Wal-Mart).  Spaghetti, bean burritos, and Ramen noodles were huge staples in our diet.  Our one-bedroom apartment was a little too expensive for our budget, but we managed.  We were still happy.

And then I got that phone call.  An interview.  A second interview.  A job offer.  Two weeks later, we splurged on a celebration at a Japanese steakhouse on the final night at the bookstore.  I said goodbye to my minimum wage job and eagerly welcomed a salary and benefits… something that I could barely comprehend at the time. I still forget that I CAN go to the doctor.

And, well, tomorrow will be my first anniversary at my “grown up” job.  Hard to believe.

Sure, work can be brutal.  I can’t tell you how many late nights, early mornings, all nighter’s, weekends, vacation days, and holidays I’ve spent in my cubicle.  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had to stifle tears during conference calls and reviews.  It’s difficult to create something that will not only meet the Government’s needs and expectations, but the expectations of numerous supervisors and reviewers from my company and other companies, as well.

At the same time, it’s rewarding because the work is challenging.  I can’t believe how much I’ve learned in a year. I am very fortunate to have a job that I truly enjoy, even on its worst days.  Not to mention, I am also grateful to have a job that allows Evan and I to have the lifestyle we want to lead.

We both have jobs, great families, awesome friends, two cars, a zoo’s worth of pets, a home, and we have each other.  Could life get any better than this?

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