Sharing a personal letter on Thanksgiving
 
Dear Bosses,

After you have given me the best year of my life, I've truly never had a Thanksgiving where I feel more thankful than I do today.

Words don't seem enough to properly express gratitude to the people who not only sent me to 31 races this year (!), but paid for us to eat and have a roof over our heads. Sarah is thrilled to have found a job where she can help children and their families, but that's not what has been paying most of the bills this year.

You have. And that is incredible. Thank you so much.

But "thank you" just doesn't seem like enough, so I want to share something personal with you. This is something no one has ever seen: A letter I wrote to myself on Jan. 5.

I went back and found this file on my computer. I had saved it under the name "The Night Before I Quit."

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Jan. 5, 2017

So here we go. Deep breath.

Tomorrow I’m planning to do the scariest thing I’ve ever done, which is walk away from a perfectly good job in hopes of doing something that will provide more happiness and flexibility for my family and be a long-term solution to staying in the journalism field.

But in case it all goes bad — which is definitely possible — I’m writing this as a reminder to you, my future self, if you ever wonder exactly what I was thinking at the time.

USA Today will not let me relocate from Charlotte. That’s a big problem, because Sarah is about to start an internship in Albuquerque in hopes of landing a job as a Child Life Specialist, and it’s unlikely she’ll be able to find one in Charlotte. That means I’ll have to move, and USA Today made it clear that’s not an option for me.

Here’s my hope: That I have a loyal enough group of supporters that they will choose to help me with a website funded through patreon.com. No one has done this in journalism that I’m aware of, so this is somewhat unchartered territory. That’s terrifying. That’s a very good chance it might fail.

But if I don’t do this, I’ll never know what might have been. Now is the time to try something, and I’m going to do it.

If it all went bad and you’re working at Starbucks while reading this, I’m sorry. I hope you didn’t get evicted. You have a few months of savings to see if it works.

But no matter what, at least you tried instead of staying in a situation that would have made you and your family miserable. That’s no way to live.

Good luck.

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That letter really brings me back to those scary first weeks before the site launched on Jan. 23.

It's fun to look back now, but this whole thing REALLY could have turned out quite poorly. There were no guarantees Sarah's unpaid internship would lead to a job somewhere, and I only had a short amount of time to see if this would work or not (I was going to give it until the end of March before finding a "real" job).

So I was living with butterflies in my stomach, and it really felt like jumping out of a plane with no parachute.

As it turned out, you all made sure I would land on my feet. And because of you, I've enjoyed an incredible season where we accomplished some really cool things together.

Don't tell Denny Hamlin, but I'm already counting down the days until Daytona. 

Thanks again for coming on this crazy journey with me.

Jeff