Lately, I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom (a side effect of having an emotional-support water bottle) and then staying up for an hour or two scrolling on my phone, contemplating the next year of my life.

Really, a lot of that time in the wee hours of the morning goes by as I think about all of the stories that need to be told.

Being a part of such a small newsroom means that everyone who works for Triad City Beat wears too many hats. And our heads really aren’t big enough to support them.

Despite this being her first job out of school, Gale Melcher — our CityBeat reporter — has really hit the ground running, taking to the position like her life depends on it. She drives from Winston-Salem to Greensboro and back and forth all the time, putting hundreds of miles on her car so she can attend most city council meetings. I bet she even has a favorite chair in the chamber.

And Brian, our publisher and founder, is constantly running around, scheduling meetings, talking up TCB and our mission to funders and anything else that needs to get done on the business side so we can keep the lights on.

As for me, I’m up at night thinking about stories for the next week, month, year.

This year is an election year and a presidential one at that.

And this is the most understaffed we’ve ever been.

So yeah, I’m hella stressed.

I’ve been feeling jittery since the new year started. Like I have slight heart palpitations that come and go. I swing back and forth between emboldened hopefulness and deep despair and nihilism.

I try to lose myself in binge-watching TV, playing video games or hitting the tennis court. And when I’m not doing those things, I’m thinking about this paper.

Because even if I can’t recall the exact moment, this paper has seared its mark into me like a tattoo that I don’t remember getting.

The ink is darker now, the wound fully healed and it’s just become a part of my skin, a part of my body. And it will forever be thus.

So, I keep going. I keep reporting. I keep writing.

Because so long as there needs stories to be told, we have a mission to accomplish.

So I mark things off of my list, little by little.

And that’s what gets me through every night.

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