Sorry for the "Sound of Music" reference. I'm really bad at goodbyes.
Last week, we were driving back from our annual Observer Media Group meeting, when someone started asking me about my future career plans. Before I could answer, my editor, Brian McMillan, chimed in and said: "Ha, Emily never has a plan."
I wanted to defend myself, but like always, he was right. I never have a plan.
I didn't have one when I graduated college, so I spent the summer applying to every newspaper I possibly could until the Ormond Beach Observer gave me a chance (despite including the word "arse," in my cover letter). I didn't have a plan when Wayne Grant's semi-retirement left the news editor position open and I randomly blurted out that I would do it.
And I definitely didn't have a plan to leave my job after three years to work YourTango, a women's lifestyle website I've been a longtime fan of.
While my lack of planning has without a doubt made my life a lot more chaotic than it needs to be, I think it's safe to say that I wouldn't have got to experience the wonderful things I've experienced so far without it.
Like going for a ride in a small aircraft after interviewing a pilot, or playing matchmaker with this town's bachelor and bachelorettes, or getting a box of Mayor Kelley's coveted Christmas fudge. Or writing this column, that's been somewhat of a public diary of all my triumphs and tribulations (okay, mostly tribulations) over the past three years.
I can't thank you enough for taking the time to read my stories. When I wrote my first column, I was sure it would be my last. I never thought in a million years that I would get a spot all to myself every week here on page 6. And I never thought that you would take the time to let me know what you think.
Here are some of my favorite emails I've gotten over the years:
"Your paint article made me laugh and gave me a flashback to the 70's. When I lived with my parents, I had the very basic, tastefully decorated bedroom. I was allowed to hang a few things and a lamp or two;
but, my parents would never let me paint, paper or change anything. When I got my own apartment, I knew this was my opportunity to truly express myself. I purchased a poster! Not any poster. This was a full length, ceiling to floor, wall to wall poster. It was very Peter Maxish. Very black and white with huge splashes of color. I thought I was so avant-garde! Ha! You guessed it! My parents saw it and thought I was crazy; but then maybe I was back then. I really loved that 'poster.' Thanks for bringing back a fun memory with your article!"
— Pat Masotti-Abernathy
"It only takes one time reading your column to become addicted and crave the next issue of The Ormond Observer. Your column has been sent to Manhattan Beach, CA for my daughter, her husband and my grandkids to read. I also sent it to my son and his family in Austin, TX. It won't be the last article of yours that I will send them to enjoy. Your paper is so refreshing, a respite from all the bad news surrounding us. One can even find humor in the police report."
— Barbara Sandberg
"I enjoyed reading your recent article about your move. Brought back a lot of memories. As a veteran of moving - six times in nine years, we finally decided to use the pros on the last couple moves. On the last move from a third-floor apartment, we had two nice young men from the moving company. They asked where the elevator was. I pointed to them and told them there were two elevators, you and you. They did not find it all that funny, but did a good job."
— Mike Carmody
So thank you again, readers, of the Ormond Beach Observer. You made me feel more connected to a community than I ever thought possible — and that was definitely not part of the plan.