Jessica Peters is a reporter at the Abbotsford News.

Jessica Peters is a reporter at the Abbotsford News.

COLUMN: Change isn’t just constant in life, it’s a necessity

Black Press reporter contemplates change as she moves from Chilliwack to the Abbotsford newsroom

If change truly is the only constant in life, then I can affirm that I am, in fact, alive.

While I’ve worked for the same newspaper chain since 1999, I am constantly on the move. I started in Chilliwack as a young mom and eager newbie, then headed out to Agassiz-Harrison, where I learned the fine art of a one-person newsroom while juggling three young sons. Eventually I went back to Chilliwack with a sharpened skill set and some solid experience – and awards – under my belt.

Now, it’s normal for reporters to lose track of the date, as we work with deadlines and publication dates as much as we work in real time. But lately I’ve even been double-checking exactly what city I’m working in.

For the past few years, I’ve been working in both our Chilliwack and Hope newsrooms, covering a bit of this here and bit of that there. Mostly, I was in charge of Chilliwack’s education beat, which has included several years of covering one of the most contentious and controversial boards of education the province has seen.

But now, I’m officially in Abbotsford.

I have taken a position with the editorial team at the Abby News, and I’m thrilled to be here. Nothing excites me more than a challenge; it keeps us young, agile, and reminds the brain to keep building neurons.

I’ve spent countless hours in Abbotsford, whether it be shopping, enjoying the Agrifair or Airshow, dining out, or doing the hockey-mom commute. But I’ve never been to a council meeting, or met with the local teachers’ union. I’ve never been a reporter here, and so it’s all bright and shiny and new for me.

The biggest chunk of time I’ve ever spent in Abbotsford was throughout the summer of 2018, when I became a BC Cancer Agency patient.

Naturally, these were scary – even ground-shaking – times. But that shake-up also provided a chance for reflecting on my life and making some personal changes.

I started meditating. I started putting myself and my health first. I started cherishing every block of time afforded to me.

In the process, the cancer clinic became my home away from home, and so did Abbotsford. I would pack up and drive in every day for radiation. This lasted about six weeks, with follow-up radiation a few weeks later.

Some days were incredibly long. There were days when I also had chemotherapy, or therapy, or checkups, or imaging. So in those moments between appointments I could slowly, cautiously explore the city.

For example, as someone who crochets I discovered the joys of the yarn section in Michael’s. And as a celiac, I devoured many a post-chemo cowboy cookie at The Polly Fox. When I was too tired to go anywhere, I sat in the atrium of the hospital and people-watched. And what always amazes me is seeing the resiliency of those who have been kicked down.

Seeing people move forward, one foot in front of the other no matter what is coming at them or trying to pull them back, is like adrenaline for me. I cheer for the underdog, probably because I so often feel like one myself.

We all have the ability to change, and to adapt, and to survive. We are all faced with times when we must practise these things. While it can be scary to make a change in your life, I can’t imagine life without it.

Feel free to drop me an email anytime at jessica.peters@abbynews.com. I look forward to hearing about Abbotsford from your point of view.

READ MORE: Navigating working from home during these pandemic times


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