I am going to share with you, my dear readers, my last column for the newspaper, which is in today’s issue, February 11.
Enjoy. Here it is:
As I sat down to my computer, fingers poised upon my keyboard, I was motionless, not knowing what to type, what to say, who to thank or how to put into words what I am feeling.
Joy. Sadness. Excitement. Nervousness. Eagerness. Confident. Inspired. Passionate. Determined. Tearful. Anxious. Fortunate. Thankful.
After nearly 12 years â€“ or 11 years, 8 months and 23 days to be exact â€“ I am leaving the wonderful world of print journalism.
I am not leaving because newspapers are dying or dwindling. Newspapers are alive and vibrant. And a necessary part of life; in my humble opinion anyway.
I am not leaving because of the company I work for, the people I work for or the people I work with. They are a great bunch of people (and no, I did not get paid to say that!).
I am not leaving because of the people in this community, either. No one made me mad or angry or upset. There wasnâ€™t an incident that caused me to terminate my employment. I donâ€™t think I can express just how I feel about this community and how truly wonderful it is. And I am not just saying that either. It is how I feel from the bottom of my heart.
So, if nothing is wrong and I am not disgruntled in any way, shape or form, then why am I leaving?
As many of you know, a little more than two years ago, I embarked on a healthy living journey. On November 19, 2008, I joined Weight Watchers. That one small step, that one little, but major decision, changed my life.
And now, I am hoping that I can do the same for others as my Weight Watchers leader did for me. Fortunately and unfortunately, I guess, I have found a new passion. A new calling. A new career. A new opportunity. I may have started my journey with Weight Watchers back in 2008, but the real journey is just beginning. Iâ€™ve now become a full-time Weight Watchers leader and my hope is that I can play a part in stopping the obesity epidemic that is plaguing our nation. I hope that I can be the shimmer of light, the glimmer of hope for those who are struggling with weight issues â€“ just like I did and still do.
You can continue reading about my journey in my blog â€“ Confessions of a [former] Fat Girl â€“ at http://fatgirl.areavoices.com/.
Although my journey with the newspaper is coming to an end, I hope my connections â€“ the friendships and relationships â€“ I have made in this community donâ€™t. I have met, interviewed and wrote about so many interesting people. I have covered intriguing, controversial county, school, community and environmental issues.
I have written about life and death. I have written uplifting and hopeful stories. I have written stories about sadness and loss and tragedy.
The Echo Press â€“ and this community â€“ has afforded me with so many wonderful opportunities. There are so many of them, I canâ€™t even begin to list them all. Nor can I begin to thank those of you who had a part in providing me with so many unique and positive experiences.
Iâ€™ve been a firefighter. I rode along with Alexandria police officers and Douglas County sheriffâ€™s deputies. I went tandem skydiving. I rode in a B-24 World War II bomber airplane. I did a 360-degree loop-de-loop in the worldâ€™s first ethanol-fueled MX-2 airplane. I rode in a Minnesota Department of Transportation snowplow.
I was rescued by a member of the Douglas County Dive Team when I â€œfellâ€ through the ice. Iâ€™ve been tazed by a real Tazer gun, willingly, by law enforcement. Iâ€™ve been bass fishing with a pro. I tried to catch a muskie with an avid muskie fisherman. I took part in the Citizenâ€™s Police Academy. Iâ€™ve spent time in jail â€“ again, willingly.
My mind is filled with so many wonderful memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
I was recently told how lucky I am to have come across two things â€“ jobs/careers â€“ I love because many people in life never even find one. I am truly blessed.
Although it seems simple, thank you. Thank you for reading my articles and columns. Thank you for letting me share your stories. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life.
If you see me out and about in the community, I hope you stop and say hello. And if you do, I have but one small request, call me by my real name â€“ Celeste Edenloff.
NOTE: In the newspaper, my byline was Celeste Beam as that was my name when I started. When my husband and I got married, we decided to leave my last name as is for the newspaper…for two reasons. One, it would have been too long to put on one line and therefore would have looked weird in the paper and two, my husband is the editor of the paper!
As many of you know, you can find me, Celeste Edenloff, on Facebook, as well as Confessions of [former] Fat Girl on Facebook. Click here for the link to my Confessions Facebook site.