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Thursday, January 20, 2022

There are a lot of things I want to do in my lifetime. None of them involve a newspaper.

Don’t get me wrong, working at a newspaper is all I’ve ever wanted to do. Well, ever since I realized my dream of being the first person to simultaneously play in the NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball was not going to come to fruition – a tough pill for a 12-year-old to swallow.

My first exposure to newspapers came in the bathtub. In middle school, I decided to make use of my family’s subscription to The Gainesville Sun by reading the paper every morning while taking a bath.

Since then, I’ve developed more normal newspaper-reading habits, but my passion for the news hasn’t died.

I know I’ll go on to a long, and hopefully successful, career in the news business. I know it’s a career I’ll enjoy. That’s why I chose it.

But my career will never be what defines me.

I bring this up because I am afraid of what the culture that permeates higher education is doing to some of my peers. No, I don’t mean the partying, although that too is concerning.

I mean the rat race of everyone trying to get into the best program, then the best grad school, then secure the best job, all the while not taking the time to actually enjoy life.

It troubles me because I know people who put so much pressure on themselves that they aren’t enjoying their time in college, which is supposed to be the best time of your life. If you can’t allow yourself to enjoy life now, do you honestly expect it to be easier when you have a mortgage and little mouths to feed?

People tie so much of their self-worth to their success. Now it’s academic; after graduation it will be our careers. But if it’s money we’re chasing, how much will be enough? If it’s prestige, how many promotions will it take for us to be satisfied?

The good news is our outlook on life is something we have the power to change.

And it starts with counting the blessings we already have.

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The reason I won’t tie my worth to my success is because I already feel like I have everything I need. I have a wonderful family, great friends and a girl I love. Those people give me a fulfillment that no amount of success or material wealth ever could.

I enjoy every second I spend in the newsroom. I’m so happy to have found a career that will be fun for me. But a job is just what provides you with the means to live the life you want to live. It shouldn’t be what you live your life for.

I’ve loved opening the paper every day and seeing my name in print next to the word “editor.” And maybe one day my name and that title will meet up again. But the titles I’ll strive for won’t be found at a newspaper. I’d much rather be known as “father,” “husband” and “friend.”

Those are the things that will bring me fulfillment. Those are things I’ll choose to live my life for.

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