My roommates enjoy decorating their corners with posters of celebrities. The in-thing I understand, but find it hard to fit in with the vogue. I stick to my choice, a poster for a high school newspaper, “Girl Talk.” Every time I tell my friends this poster carries a faith, they would stare as if I were joking. Their skeptical look reminds me of the story of a 16-year-old girl.
This girl joined “Girl Talk” only for one reason: She wanted to be someone as popular as Alice, the legendary, charismatic founder of the school newspaper. Though she had never taken writing and editing seriously, the girl found herself involved in the campaign for the editor-in-chief position when Alice, as a junior, was to resign.
But when the girl heard her name announced after the election, she felt as if the whole world was looking at her skeptically. Could this girl continue the newspaper’s success after Alice had made “Girl Talk” a household name around the campus?
Yes, Alice said to the girl. Starting a newspaper is like giving birth to a baby. Now it’s your turn to adopt the baby and give it a new life.
The girl took the baton, hesitantly though. In the following months, she came to learn that each of the captivating stories in the newspaper entails a truckload of hard work—managing the schedule,travelling between interviews, long hours of writing and editing. More than that, the editor-in-chief even had to deal with a financial crisis. After Alice resigned, the biggest sponsor stopped financing the newspaper. The printing expenses continued to rise. As always, the girl turned to Alice.
Alicepointed at the latest issue of the newspaper and asked, What is this?
Our baby,the girl had to answer.
So you must have a faith in your baby, Alice said.
The girl had never looked at the newspaper this way. But she started to feel sympathy for it. She sent the sponsor all its previous issues along with a new design which highlighted a well-marked spot for advertising and added a note that said, This newspaper brings life and hope to us. But without your support, it’s going to die. The girl’s efforts did pay off. The sponsor said yes. Now, “Girl Talk” is five years old.
I don’t have to tell you that girl is me; the girl in the story can be any one of us in our youth. It can be hard to tell what exactly initiates our passion for a life-long pursuit. It can be hard to trace the cause of an impulsive decision that leads us to a road not taken. It can be even harder to locate and define a faith when we are young. But as we grow up, we come to learn that we are the editor of our own life. And as we edit that life, we understand that life-editing is to recognize what is not working in our life and remove the negative thoughts and behaviors that block us from achieving our goals. In youth, we learn; in age, we understand.
Recently, I had a talk with Alice on the phone. We shared our university life and future plans. We didn’t mention those “Girl Talk” days, but I dare say we both could feel for each other: The high-school newspaper has recorded the growing joys and pains of our youth; the editing experience has planted a seed of faith in our young hearts. We are the editor of the newspaper. Ladies and gentlemen: We are the editor of our own life.