Happiness is a hard target to hit

Published 9:44 pm Friday, September 8, 2017

The funny thing about writing in your hometown is you bump into people you know at every turn.

This week I was asked a not uncommon question for far from the first time, but I think that, for perhaps the first time, I may have a clearer answer than a simple ‘yes.’

“Are you happy at the paper?” someone who has known me since childhood asked.

Happiness is a big and unwieldy concept. Is it a constant emotion that follows you throughout each day? If so, then I am many things over the course of any given week, including happy, but that is not the only thing. I am joyous. I am frustrated. I am tired (and don’t tell me that tired isn’t an emotion). Life takes different twists and turns, and so do our emotions.

Is this happiness in question, better termed as satisfaction with where I stand professionally? If so, then the question falls under new light.

I was blessed with a series of fantastic English teachers in middle school and high school who were determined to help this lost cause of a writer polish her writing. This happened through the power of enough red ink to fill a pool with constructive criticism on overuse of adjectives, run-on sentences and unclear pronoun references. I like to think they did an exceptional job, even though I was never a perfect student, and somewhere along the way I grew to love the written word.

Now, I don’t know if I would go as far to say that I am happy when I am writing, but I can confidently say that my life seems to make more sense when I am committing ink to paper.

The other freedom that the paper grants me as a given is the ability to be at the center of the action. How many other jobs allow you to discuss the Revolutionary War with Nathanael Greene (or at least someone acting in his stead)? How rare is it to be able to hear about upcoming city and county projects as part of your job? How uncommon is it to see something that strikes your interest and to be able to investigate it because if you are curious, surely someone else will have the same questions?

So, am I happy at the paper? Most days, yes. Am I satisfied with what I am doing? Of course.

Alicia B. Hill is a reporter with the LaGrange Daily News.