I need to get back to the path I was on then: writing and more writing. I stopped giving my all to the journalism and English programs my last year at USC. I quit the Daily Trojan, ended my journalism internships, and shifted to the school of education for several complex reasons (including hubris). The basic thought was that teaching would be a secure "second choice" since I decided against journalism as my career path. I still love journalism, but I know I'm opinionated and passionate about the topics I might enjoy covering. Of course, a columnist or analyst can be opinionated, so there's hope.
I have been unable to focus since leaving L.A. in Dec 1990. I did finish the English and journalism degrees, at least, before leaving USC. I didn't complete my student teaching, so I never obtained a "clear" teaching credential.
Every few years, I remind myself that I am a writer. Period. I've tried too hard to be something else in return for elusive "security" that never materialized. Drifting from writing, in the name of security, has never produced happiness. Instead, I end up anxious. For a time, I blamed the impulse to write, as if it was my passion for language that made me miserable.
USC was an opportunity squandered by youthful pride. I wanted to prove something to people who shouldn't have mattered to my self-worth. My dream was the LA Times or SF Chronicle. Never, never give up a dream to prove a point -- you'll neither prove the point nor find happiness.
I've spent most of 2010 writing again. Now, I am swearing to not surrender that passion to "security." If I'm going to succeed at something, it will be writing related.