When I was growing up, my grandmother retired from her position as an English teacher and became a writer.  She loved books and writing, and was always interested in others’ writing styles.  Given some of her genes, I am very similar.  I always have my nose in a book and I’ve always known that I have a passion for writing and continuously crafting my words.

When I was in college, my grandmother entered a nursing home.  When I would visit her, she would always ask to see a sample of my writing.  “Next time Mommom,” I would say, “next time.”  I never did.


Around the same time, I started one of my first College Writing courses.  One of the very first weeks, my professor projected my anonymous essay, in front of the class, as one of the ‘exemplary examples’.  My heart fluttered with joy as I saw my words on the screen.  Beat that kids.

Further into the semester, I skipped my second paper up to my professor’s desk on its due date, only to receive unsatisfactory feedback a few days later.  “Your sentences run on; the topic wasn’t fully unraveled; you cut the thesis too short.”  “Oh,” I remember thinking, “maybe I’m not as good at this whole writing thing as I originally thought.”

After my grandmother passed away and I moved from one side of campus to another that summer, I was unpacking my things and my grandmother’s business card fell out.  ANGELL PUBLICATIONS.  Really, Mommom, is that what you named it? I didn’t remember that…

…These memories have been stuck in my head for the past six years now.  But, here I am, finally ‘picking up the pen’ and posting my words out onto the whole-wide-internet for everyone to see.  No, they haven’t been reviewed by my grandmother. Yes, my sentences might run-on, my grammar isn’t perfect and I might not fully unravel the tale.  But, the words are here.

Can you see them from up there, Mommom? Did you always have this faith? Because I think that a little piece of my heart is doing this for you…

You Get What You Give?

During one of my internships in college, I noticed a newspaper quote clipped to my boss’ bulletin board.  The quote read “you make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give.”  I became fascinated with this quote.  In fact, if you email me today, it is still at the footer of my email signature.  But, that is besides the point.  At the time, in my naivity, I thought, of course, giving, that is all that I need to do and the world will be merry, and I went off on my jolly way.

My first job out of college (ok… I’m only on my second), I was deemed a Road Warrior.  Have you ever heard of that movie with George Clooney called Up in the Air, where he spends the majority of his life in airports, and he can’t seem to maintain a normal relationship outside of his job.  Yep… that was me.

My average week consisted of 60-70 working hours, excluding travel time.  I once left my client site at 4AM, only to go back to my hotel, shower and return two hours later.  My co-workers and I used to joke that if you actually calculated our hourly rate, we could file a lawsuit on our company for failing to pay the government regulated minimum wage.

After that whirlwind of a life, I only pause now to think.. do you actually get what you give?  Or, is there a fine line between giving and getting taken advantage of, and where does the line need to be drawn?

I mean, don’t get me wrong.. I did get a lot from the job.  I certainly would not be where I am today without it.  But, I do think, that during that time, I gave a little piece of myself that I will never get back.  And, I’m not sure that I was truly willing to give that up…

What do you think?  Have you ever given something away with little in return? How do you know when to draw the line?