I’m a big believer in moments. Specifically, because I am a proud Oprah disciple, the “Aha! Moments.” Anytime I struggled with a decision — breakups, grad school, who to invite to my second-grade birthday party — my mom always told me, “There’s a moment when you’ll know what to do. If you don’t know, you’re not ready.”
As a journalist, I like that idea, the deadliney-ness of it. There’s a moment when the story is at last ready. Before that instant, it’s forced. And readers can tell.
But sometimes I get caught up waiting for that moment to hit. Sometimes the moment doesn’t come, the deadline passes by, and the decision I make is rushed, forced. That’s why I mistakenly invited Sarah* to my second-grade party (she ended up crying in a corner).
Then there are the times when the decisive moment catches you off guard. You don’t see it coming, even if it’s been patiently staring you in the face. A couple of the fathers in our feature story talked about the instant they knew it was time to grow up. The impending deadline of baby on the way! helped them come to terms with it, but it wasn’t really time for action until the baby was in their arms.
I don’t have a child, but I feel I can relate. Vox sometimes feels like a toddler; it’s whiney, it needs constant attention, there’s always room to teach and learn, and yes, sometimes, there’s poop. In the months leading up to this summer, I thought I would be ready for my stint as editor. But it wasn’t until I was handed the drafts of our first summer stories — here, fix these, ALL of these — that I knew it was time to grow up.
*Name has been changed to respect the privacy of the teary individual