As Ed indicated in his kind post this morning, today is my last day to write full-time for HotAir.com. It has been an honor to write alongside two of the very best bloggers in the business and to contribute to such a vibrant online community on a daily basis.

When I first accepted the position of Associate Editor, I had the vague idea that working for a website founded by Michelle Malkin, who has long been one of my personal heroes, and working with the great Ed Morrissey and inimitable Allahpundit would be the equivalent of “blogging bootcamp.” That vague idea turned out to be correct, but no generalized visualization of a new media editor’s day-to-day routine is a substitute for actually living that day-to-day routine. What I thought I knew about blogging before I began this job I relearned every single day: It is demanding work!  It is demanding not only in the sense that “the beast demands to be fed” — in our case every 35 minutes or so — but also in the sense that it requires a mind that “never succumbs” …  to false information, to illogical arguments, to petty criticisms or to personal attacks … nor to praise, egoism or cynicism, the tool of the lazy thinker. (A skeptic demands to be shown. A cynic refuses to be shown.) Whether I possessed such a mind when I began this job, I don’t know — but I know I come closer to having such a mind now. Wherever I go, I’ll take with me the discipline and perseverance that were so strongly reinforced in me by this year.

Some of you will disagree with me even about this (you always do!). You’ll say that blogging does require an ego or that cynicism is the mark of a seasoned blogger. As always, your criticisms will have truth in them. It does require an ego to think that anybody actually cares what you think. Observing the political cycle for more than a single season would tempt anyone to cynicism.

Still, I maintain the best writers — writers like Ed and Allah! — aren’t in the service of themselves; they’re not attempting to make their own names known. They’re in the service of a message, a message that goes beyond them. It’s no accident that people speak of the influence of the conservative blogosphere in a general sense far more often than they speak of the influence of individual conservative bloggers. It’s the conservative message — the message that it’s worth it in every sense to take responsibility for ourselves and our own lives, to direct our own lives as we see fit — that’s overwhelming and irresistible. That message is the source of any conservative’s influence. Professionally speaking, that’s what I’ve always hoped and still hope to be — a writer with a meaningful message.

Thank you all for engaging my ideas so thoughtfully, for introducing so many thought-provoking ideas yourselves, for encouraging me and even for discouraging me: It was a privilege to learn from you. Thank you also to the silent majority of Hot Air readers: You make this site possible.

It is a source of great pleasure and pride to me to note that some of you think I served the conservative message well in my time here — particularly with my pro-life and pro-gender-difference posts. To me, the right to life and the freedom to be as we were created, both male and female, are fundamental to the ordering of society. I will never stop “shilling” for the ideas that life begins at conception, that the human fetus is a human person no less than the human baby or the human toddler, that men and women are, in fact, different, that we were created in relationship and that we were created to be in relationship with one another, primarily through the formation of families.

That last sentence brings me to my future: Like any true conservative (especially any Catholic conservative), I believe strongly in the principle of subsidiarity, in the idea that problems are best solved at the most local level possible, starting with the family. It brings me so much joy and peace to think I’ll soon be starting the lifelong adventure of marriage, which I hope and pray will lead to children someday, too. The family my fiancé and I ultimately create will always be our first priority.

As Ed wrote, I’ll also soon be working as Policy Impact Director at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs — and that, too, is an awesome prospect to me. The decision to seek — and, fortunately, to be offered — a position at the state level was also driven by my belief in the genius of federalism. The Oklahoma policy scene is particularly exciting at the moment. It’s a time of both challenge and opportunity in what we conservative Okies like to brag is “the reddest state in the country.” My particular position will entail policy research, writing, editing, media relations and development work, among other responsibilities.   It’s my hope that it will enable me to have a measurably positive impact on problems particularly close to home.

In addition to all of that, I also plan to resume some personal writing projects that I’ve had on hold for some time. Plus, as Ed said, I’ll still be writing in the Green Room occasionally, popping up in the comments section and sounding off on Twitter (@TinaKorbe).

When I left The Heritage Foundation to work at HotAir.com, I had the sense that I was still working for Heritage because I was still working in the conservative movement. I have the same sense now. Conservatives have every reason to be optimistic that our cause will succeed on the strength of our message and on our willingness to work tirelessly to complete whatever jobs and tasks we’re given as our own. We know, as T.S. Eliot said, “There’s no such thing as a lost cause — because there’s no such thing as a gained cause. We fight because we know that our defeat and dismay may be the preface to our successors’ victory.”

Cheers to the past year, in which we fought alongside each other here — and here’s to fighting alongside each other on other fronts in the future.