When I was about twelve years old, I was a faithful reader of Tiger Beat, Teen Beat, and Bop magazines, and I remember a number of articles and interviews in them in which the heartthrob-of-the-day, actor or singer or group, would proclaim something along the lines of "Everyone thinks of me/us as an overnight success, but I/we worked hard for this for a really long time, so it doesn't feel that way to me/us!" The "new" sensation would go on to outline the years of fruitless auditions or off-Broadway plays or free concerts performed in their parents' backyards for the neighbors, and I would read these details with such incredible interest. The hours of rehearsals the New Kids on the Block put in, just like the Jackson Five before them! The faith a pre-teen Debbie Gibson had in herself to create a home "recording studio" consisting of a row of tape recorders set up on an ironing board! The perseverance a fifteen-year-old Tiffany showed in doing her first "tour" in shopping malls! The chutzpah of a still-unknown-and-too-broke-to-afford-a-home-phone Michael J. Fox as he negotiated his contract for "Family Ties" from a phone booth outside a fast food chicken place! I devoured these stories. I love them even more this week when finally, a full ten years after graduating from college and four years after finishing grad school, I have been hired to do a job I'm truly proud of, excited about, and eager to begin. I'm not exactly where I want to be yet, but I'm on my way, and closer than I was before.
It is slowly sinking in that a new stage has begun. Tonight I have flowers spread all around the apartment from a congratulatory arrangement from Mom and Dad. Tuesday will be my last day at my current restaurant job. That evening, Mr. Mike, who has been my friend since college and thus seen me through all my "pretty little rough patches" these past ten years, is going out to dinner with me to celebrate. Soon I start my new job. And I
feel strong and optimistic. And I did not give up. There are fresh
flowers in the toothbrush holder tonight to prove it.