There are titles I was born with or had no choice over: daughter, sister. Titles I'm proud of: backpacker, RV full-timer. But there are only two titles I've ever really wanted: writer, mother.
This column was picked up when I was 29 years old, a month before I found out I was pregnant with my first child. For nearly a decade, you've been with me. You read as I became a writer, a mother. You read as I switched jobs, moved across the country, had a second child, lost a beloved pet. I shared with you trips across the globe, fears, triumphs and my observances of the delightfully absurd. You bought my best-of book, "Stop Farting in the Pyramids." You stayed with me through hilarious times — and times when it was hard to smile. You allowed me to break the contract of this being a humor column so I could write openly about Newtown and Pulse nightclub and any time my heart broke beyond repair — an offering of grace from you, dear readers, for which I will always be grateful. You read as I messed up, broke my bones, explored outside my comfort zone and found solid ground — laughing with me all the way.
The title of "columnist" has been such a special title that I've worked hard to maintain it through beautiful, abundant years and through hard years — to maintain it as work and children demanded more attention. But life, for years now, has been pulling in the other direction.
I have never held a newspaper that carries my column. This could have created a great disconnect between me and you, but I've always felt we were connected because you would find your way to my website, my Instagram or my email and reach out. You've shared recipes and challenged me to be more considerate when writing about food. You offered remedies for my vertigo and told me where I might find real unicorns. You commiserated and laughed with me over my marital mishaps and parenting mistakes. You showed up in droves when I lost my beloved 18-pound rabbit, Pig — almost as much as you came out to inform me I was absolutely wrong for my bafflement over the phenomenon that is goat yoga. (That's something my close friends still like to poke fun at me about. I have learned my lesson — promise, promise. Goat yoga is the GOAT.)
This column has made me a better writer, but far more importantly, it has made me a better person. It has required introspection, self-analysis and consideration about what I've been putting out into the world to ensure my words have matched my ethics and beliefs. And when they haven't, I've made personal commitments to do better.
When the column was first beginning, I was told it needed a title. I suggested "Failing, but With the Best of Intentions." I was told by my editor that the title was too long. I then changed it to "Katiedid vs. ..." It was meant to chronicle all the ways I try to do my best and show up in the world but comically fail. Lately, those stories haven't been so easy to come up with. Perhaps nearly a decade after this column began, I'm not so much at odds with the world. Maybe I'm failing a little less — or at least failing in the right direction. Or maybe I've just come to live with knowing that life is about learning.
I began this column at 29. This final column will be filed on my 39th birthday. A decade of my life shared with all of you. I am saddened by my next title, "ex-columnist." I'm saddened I will not be able to share with you future titles I hope to hold: park ranger, astronaut, second wife to Chris Hemsworth. But I am excited for the personal opportunities ahead. And I'm very happy to be leaving this shared space of ours with the title of "friend." I do hope you continue to reach out to me at writeinthewild.com and @writeinthewild to share your anecdotes, reveal your heart, offer advice or remind me that goat yoga is amazing. I know it is, just as I know how amazing you are.
Be well and stay in touch.
The title of this last column is "Thank You."
Katiedid Langrock is author of the book "Stop Farting in the Pyramids," available at http://www.creators.com/books/stop-farting-in-the-pyramids. Follow Katiedid Langrock on Instagram, at http://www.instagram.com/writeinthewild. To find out more about her and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.