They say bad things happen in three’s. I’m here today to say that good things happen in one hundreds and sometimes you even start out thinking they’re bad.
About one month ago today I got laid off from a full time job two weeks before my four year anniversary there. The initial shock was nothing I could have been prepared for. I walked into what I thought was going to be a routine Monday morning meeting, and walked out several minutes later unemployed for the first time since I was 14 years old. I had never been laid off, let go, or fired from anything and had maintained at least one, to sometimes four jobs at a time, for the last 15 years.
It took me several days to get past that initial lousy feeling. For the first time I really understood how people became severely depressed after being let go from a job, and couldn’t fathom how some people felt after being laid off time and time again. My ego took a huge blow. As a very dear friend of mine said to me that first week, it is so easy to measure your self worth almost entirely by your career. Being someone who has always worked my ass off to be successful in any role I was given, to have my career suddenly yanked out from under me not by my choice was crushing. But here’s the thing.
That very same Monday morning I had a discussion with my dad before work when I dropped Elle off for the day. I was telling him how much happier I had been lately since I had committed to leaving my desk at lunch. I was eating in the kitchen instead of my office, or even getting in a half hour yoga practice. As I drove to work I contemplated why that small break away was making me so much happier. I specifically remember saying to myself that it was because my job didn’t define me and I needed that half hour of ME. There were so many other things that I could have listed off that said something about me and what was important to me. My job wasn’t one of them. My heart and my energy weren’t there. My heart was aching that I had to spend 50+ hours a week away from my child from the time she was 12 weeks old. It ached that after rushing home, picking up the baby, making dinner, baths, bedtime, chores and prep for the next day I was always too tired to even sit and talk with my husband for half an hour. It ached to think of all the things I wanted to happen for myself and for my family that I had no time and energy to put towards making happen. So in the end I realized that I did make this decision although somewhat subconsciously. I can honestly say that I did my job to the best of my ability while I was there. The problem was that the best of my ability wasn’t enough. I no longer had the fire and energy to put towards it. So since I didn’t take the first step out the door, the universe gave me a big kick in the ass and occasionally my ego still stings a bit. If that’s the only thing that came out somewhat banged up, I’d say I’m in pretty good shape.
So it’s now one month later and here is a list of things that have changed since losing my job.
1. I immediately noticed the first week home that Elle’s temperament did a 180. She’s always been a really happy, energetic kid, but as parents Aaron and I could sense a layer of stress on her that was hard for us to see. Our schedule wasn’t only difficult on the adults. Now she seems lighter, more at peace, more apt to give hugs and kisses spontaneously.
2. Aaron also noticed immediately that his connection with her was stronger. Where before she only wanted me after work, now she was jumping for joy when Daddy got home. There was special time now for him and Elle after being with me all day.
3. Aaron’s and my relationship improved by leaps and bounds. We realized that all the struggles, communication issues, and misunderstandings we had been having the last several months were due to our stress level. Stress that was caused by a quality of life that neither of us wanted for our family. Quality is about so much more than money (and money is tight now to say the least). With me home to take care of house matters during the week, we now had time to actually spend together as a family and as a couple. We are more connected and feel much more able to resolve conflicts with love and patience.
3. The constant heartburn that I had been having since Elle was born that I couldn’t get to the bottom of mysteriously went away. (………stress much?)
4. Aaron and I BOTH got new jobs, that we are mutually excited about. The very same day I was let go, I was given opportunity to work with someone who has been a mentor to me since I was a teenager….. wait for it…. from HOME, on my own schedule! I’ll finally have time to pursue my passion of becoming a doula, and who knows? Maybe a midwife! Aaron has been trying for over a year to get the job he will be starting at the end of this month. Clearly, something has shifted.
The lesson that I have learned from all of this is that all my life needed was for me to get out of my own way and that God really does have a greater plan. I always had the choice to do something about my situation. Since I didn’t do it, I was graciously (if not abruptly) given an out. For that I am thankful; it doesn’t always happen that way. Once the roadblock was removed from our path, the flow of life and energy that was waiting for us could finally freely makes it’s way into our lives. Sure, if we’re talking about money, we’re broke right now. But we are abundantly rich in ideas, dreams, energy, love, promise and opportunity.