Lost in Transition

By Naazish YarKhan

My mother noticed it first. All your articles are beginning to sound the same, she said to me. I thought little of her comment. Then she said it again… and then once again. That’s when it got me thinking. Yes, it’s true. Iraq and Islam and its related U.S. politics are all that seem to be on my mind. That’s what I read. That’s what I give talks on, those are the topics that I interview others on, those are the topics I give interviews on, that’s what interests me and that’s what I write about I guess. What goes in, must come out.

But what does that say about me? That I surround myself with nothing but this? What of the kids, my friends, my social life. There’s a line in the movie, Blood Diamond. I don’t remember the exact line but it goes along the lines of the journalist having become a drama junkie, because all she does is cover conflict zones. I guess, in a way, that’s what I am. A political drama junkie – save the world, stave off horrible Bush from taking the planet to hell in a hand basket and write about it till the readers beg you to stop. Eerrrr …. let’s stop with the drama shall we?

Firstly, there won’t be that many political stories from me.. hopefully… despite how much I love them. Ever since I dropped my job as Editor of Chicago Crescent we are all breathing a little easier. I miss the stories we did and I still keep track, diligently, of all the stories we can be doing, but I don’t miss the chaos and the last minute haphazard dash that went with running a paper. Luckily, before I phased out of that, I got into publicity for authors and arranging speaking engagements. That truly is setting my own hours and it’s spaced out between months so actually works better for me, rather than the mad dash to replace 50% of the Chicago Crescent newspaper, in two days time, just because my boss didn’t have time to go over it when he should have and now all the news is old. That was not fun. Nor was it fun hearing: “wehavetogetapressreleaseoutthisminutebecausesomeonewentandthreatenedtobombthe searstowerandwe’recondemningtheallegedplot.” Whoa.

On another side, 4th grade has new concepts introduced each week and I didn’t want to see Taskeen flailing under any circumstances. She cried last week that she hadn’t gotten a 100% on any spelling test, all of 3rd grade, last year. Had I spent more time on her and less on the Crescent, that wouldn’t have been the case. All the math foundations are being taught this year… if she doesn’t get them right it can have a life long impact. A whole difference between a career in the low paying humanities versus one in the decent paying sciences or commerce related fields.

That said, I miss someone to talk to.. even if it’s your boss whose hours you hate (I’m just plain sadistic, aren’t I). Farhat suggested I go get a job in telemarketing - selling over the phone, because I don’t want to work full time. I did it when I first got here 13 years ago. Apparently I so need someone to talk to that even that looks like a good idea, when fact is I had sworn off telemarketing. All those people hanging up on you. All those people saying ‘thank you, but no thank you’. But I like people and I like talking. I mean I need to talk. It doesn’t seem like an option, to securing my mental health, to be able to get things off my chest. The answer could be as simple as making the time to see my friends. I don’t. For some reason, I rather hide behind a schedule than sit still for 60 minutes (without a computer screen in my face) and actually have a heart-to-heart.

I still have my job as managing editor of a quarterly and to pass the hours, I volunteer in Yousuf’s Montessori. And yes, I do publicity for Haroon Siddiqui and am considering expanding that to other authors. But something tells me not to look for more work. Focus on the kids, says the voice. Focus on your column for the Observer, it says too (My mom notices all the issues I haven’t written for). Then another voice chimes in.. Shouldn’t I finish editing for the nth time that novel I once began? And when do I plan to begin studying for entrance exams to law school.

Should I even do law school at this point in our lives. Now is my time to focus on the kids. Hmmm..seems to me, a life that’s a little bit in transition. A life swinging between motherhood and a life that’s mine.