My relationship ended & I quit my job. What’s next?

How’s that for an SEO headline, eh?

A quick-and-dirty recap:

1. I experienced a breakup. Breakups are hard. They make you want to curl up into a ball in your bed for a month only to unfurl long enough to make the trek to the fridge for the tub of chocolate chip ice cream once a day. Enough said.

2.  I resigned from my job at The Associated Press. Read more below.

3. And because change must come in threes, my car was burglarized and my purse was stolen. This was just icing on the life-change cake.

Now, some of these life changes I had control over, but it has still been a lot to deal with all at once. There have been a lot of tears shed, a lot of panicked texts and phone calls, a lot of second-guessing and a lot of wine-drinking the past few weeks. (Thanks to everyone who has helped calm me down.) But it’s reminding me how truly strong I am, the number of obstacles I’ve overcome in my life, and the amount of cool sh*t I’ve done and will continue to do as long as I’m on this earth: I overcame anorexia at a young age when some people said I never would; I attended college out of state when people told me I should stay closer to home; I moved to a tiny island in the Pacific immediately after college when — again — people told me I should do the comfortable and easy thing; I entered a communist country illegally and lived to tell about it — don’t do this; I moved to San Francisco, South Dakota and back to my roots in Oklahoma, because I felt it was right at the time and I followed my gut; and I’ve written a book because it’s always been a dream of mine.

Overcoming challenges and seeking out new adventures is what scares me most in life. It’s also what excites me and gives me energy. This is another time of growth in my life that will only make me stronger.

As for my departure from the AP, it was not spur of the moment and was something I’d been thinking about for a little while. But that didn’t make the decision any easier. I started as a temp reporter in Oklahoma City in the spring of 2011 before I was hired full-time in South Dakota. I survived two brutal (read: easy by South Dakota standards) winters before I returned to Oklahoma City last July. In my more than three years with the company I’ve covered some of the most noteworthy stories of my career: executions, death-penalty trials, Native American tribes, a paralyzed kangaroo, deaths of politicians, alleged police officer assaults and more. I’ve developed strong news judgement, learned how to write fast and accurately on extremely tight deadlines, learned how to take multitasking to the extreme and, most importantly, learned how to throw proper Friday night solo dance parties in two newsrooms in two different states.

So why did I decide to leave? I think if you look back to what I wrote above about what I’ve done with my life you’ll understand why. I seek out new possibilities and adventures. It’s who I am and how I’ve lived my life as an adult. I’ve decided to open myself up to something new: a new job, a new career, a new skill, a new way of looking at the world. The possibilities are endless at this point in my life and that makes me really excited. I’m ready for them. (For the record, this has nothing to do with the breakup. It was just pretty unfortunate timing.)

But because people wonder how I’ll get by RIGHT.THIS.VERY.SECOND, here are my immediate plans:

1. Visit old friends and celebrate some of them getting married

2. Release a book!!! (#Salespitch: pre-order your copy now!)

3. Travel

4. Laugh

5. Dance alone in my apartment and together with friends

6. Freelance write and continually seek out new opportunities, projects and connections for the future relating to journalism, public relations, social media and marketing. (Know of some? I’d love if you passed them along by leaving a comment or emailing me at kristi.eaton@gmail.com!)

As for the purse, the thief or thieves who it took it stole a lot of important documents. Most importantly, they stole my feeling of safety and security. I think one of the most annoying parts of the whole ordeal has been having to deal with people judging me for leaving MY purse locked and hidden in MY car briefly in the middle of the day in a high-traffic area. Granted, I’ll never do it again, but I find it hard to believe that the people judging me have never once left their purse or wallet in the console or under the seat to run into a convenience store to grab a cup of coffee, drop off a child at daycare or take the groceries inside a home. I think it could happen to anyone. It was just especially bad timing for me.
Ultimately — once all the cards were cancelled, accounts changed, reports taken — the person or persons who stole my possessions got $20 in cash, my glasses, a marked-up day planner, a pair of contact lenses, a recorder, a purse and wallet from Target and a few sentimental possessions. I hope they enjoy them.
A funny anecdote came from it all, though. I was freaking out that the perpetrator(s) may discover an item with my address on it and come back for more. How so? I’m not exactly sure — my head just said they’d be back for “more.”
So I called the police early one recent Sunday.
A police officer called me back about 10 minutes later and listened as I explained my situation and why I was nervous and worried about my safety.
I live alone, I told the officer, and I feared they may come back at some point for “more.” I thought I’d get some general tips on being aware of my surroundings, maybe a recommendation to buy a bottle of pepper spray — you know, the stuff your parents told you growing up.
Nope. His response was simple if not a little unsettling when I was deep in the throes of freak-out mode: “Do you have a gun?” he asked.
Oh, Oklahoma.

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Hot Springs, Arkansas: history, relaxation and motorcycles

I’ve been in need of some relaxation for a while — stay tuned for the next few posts to read about why — and I decided Hot Springs was a great place to spend a random three-day weekend I had requested off several months ago.

The drive from Oklahoma City to Hot Springs was about seven hours, but I stopped several places in rural Oklahoma to stop and snap some photos. Here’s one example:

The Crystal Theater in downtown Okemah, Oklahoma, shows a movie every night at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5.

The Crystal Theater in downtown Okemah, Oklahoma, shows a movie every night at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5.

For history and historic preservation buffs like myself, Hot Springs is a must-see. I spent the majority of my time on Central Avenue, which is the main drag with the historic bathhouses. Native Americans have been using the natural spring water to heal ailments for centuries. The government took over the area in the 1800s and created a national park in 1921 and bathhhouses started popping up.

The Arlington Hotel

The Arlington Hotel

The Arlington Hotel was built in 1924 and has hosted many famous baseball players including Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio. Markers throughout the downtown area share information about Hot Springs history with baseball and spring training.

Quapaw Baths and Spa

Quapaw Baths and Spa

Bathhouse Row

Bathhouse Row

On Saturday, I booked myself an appointment at the Quapaw Bathhouse for a massage. Opened in 1922, the Quapaw Bathhouse sat empty from 1984 until it reopened in 2008.

The massage was wonderful, though the noise outside was not. It turns out the weekend I was there was the same weekend that a motorcycle convention was in town. Revving engines does not make for relaxation. Still, the masseuse at the bathhouse was skilled enough to nearly get me to fall asleep so that I’d forget about the bikers outside the building.

Next I headed to the thermal mineral baths, four large pools of natural spring water that ranged in temperatures from about 95 degrees to 105 degrees. One woman who chatted me up in the locker room explained the lure of the natural spring water: “There’s something magical about how it cleanses the soul and eliminates the toxins.” I was definitely in the mood for some soul cleansing, so I shelled out the $18 to dip in and out of the various pools. I have to say that the woman was correct in her assertion.

Before the massage, I headed to the Fordyce Bathhouse, which was a bathhouse from 1915-1962 until it closed and later became the Hot Springs National Park visitors’ center. The bathhouse is basically stuck in time and shows visitors what it was like back in the early to mid 1900s for people visiting the area.

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This is where women used to get blisters removed.

This is where women used to get blisters removed.

My blisters remained fully in place after the trip, but my soul was rejuvenated a bit, which was exactly what I needed.