Wednesday, August 31, 2016

I Just Really, Really, Really Like Being A Journalist...

Watching an episode of "American Idol", one cannot possibly miss how all contestants "started signing before [they] could talk". That's really good for those contestants because they are in the process of making lifelong dreams come true. As a child, I also wanted to be a singer. And a TV host. And an actress. And an architect. But after I had learned the alphabet, my father gave me an old typewriter to "play" with and I started writing a book. That book, about a cool chick I had seen on TV going by the name of Joan of Arc (yeah, that one!), was one page and a half long, and I started asking around how that could get published. Very clearly, I wanted to be a novelist more than all the other things, although I did practice my lip-syncing almost every day...

The dream of becoming a Hollywood actress disappeared after 2 hours on Hollywood Boulevard. All other occupations I had in mind also perished before I even hit my final years of high school. When it was time to decide what to go to college for, I can't remember even considering something other than Politics. The age old question of "what do you plan on doing with it?" was a good one. I thought, maybe I could become a writer one day, an actual book writer that says things people want to hear. For that, I was missing a lot of knowledge though (and skills, but who knows that at age 19?). So for a long time I was training to become a journalist without really knowing that in the end it would be the only choice I would have. The job market sucks, and journalism is the only thing I actually had to choose from. After the shortest time, however, it was clear that choice was the only one I needed.

For a while I got tempted by money. I know, I'm young, have no kids, and I don't even like expensive things too much, so why would I care about money? If there was ever a time to go for the dream, not caring about the money to be made with it, it was now. When you are faced with earning way below minimum wage despite having two Master degrees, however, that temptation would come naturally. I had a couple of more lucrative jobs on the side, and then was offered a really high paying job that has absolutely nothing to do with writing. I knew the RIGHT choice, but I was tempted. After I turned down that one, didn't get the one with writing I wanted, and was offered another more lucrative job, it was clearly God challenging me if I really, really wanted it. My choice remained the same: I kept chasing the dream!

Right now, I work for the local paper, going to plays, festivals and press talks, talking to politicians and refugees, and no job I had has been crap. Sure, not all of the assignments are amazing, but there is nothing that's not worth knowing about. Last week I went to an art exhibition about water. I'm not into art, I don't get it at all usually, but I learned something new and talked to a local and a Jewish artist from New York which would never not be interesting, no matter what they talk about. I'm from Germany, we don't have many Jewish artists, how cool is it to hear from them? Nothing makes me happier than hearing something new, being able to discuss it, and then finally writing it up so anyone who wants to learn the same is able to do so. I seriously struggle to think of a cooler job.

Sure, just like all the other dream chasers I could fail miserably. In Egypt, due to my criticism of the country and people being unable to differentiate between criticism of a country and personal attacks, I had to listen to a lot of people telling me I'm not a journalist and I'm bad at it. To those people I need to extend my biggest gratitude because hearing them just made me think one thing: "You'll see!" I am a journalist. I am a journalist now and I will be even better in time. If I was so bad at it, I guess, I wouldn't even be where I am now, interviewing with people who are nothing short of my biggest idols for years, sometimes even decades. This is the only thing I ever really wanted to be, and I think I'll succeed. And if I don't I'll still have a lot of really cool stories to tell my grandchildren. At this point, I just choose to listen to Kate Winslet telling me I can be whatever I wanna be when she won an Oscar. Let's try this... why not...?

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