I’m writing this after the dust has settled a bit, just over two months since I was downsized out of a position I held (and loved) for almost five years.
The details aren’t important, what matters are the lessons I’ve learned in the days since finding myself (somewhat) in the realm of the unemployed. I say somewhat only because I do have a little bit of freelance work that keeps me busy.
I’ve been incredibly sad to step back from work that I absolutely loved, with people who inspired me every day, but to be honest I’m actually a bit happy as well as I was getting majorly burned out.
Ask those closest to me and they’ll tell you how I was crying at my desk, throwing up with anxiety on my commute, dreading waking up every morning. Things had gotten so bad towards the end that I’d even gone back on anti-depressant medication, as a last-ditch effort to cope with the demands of life.
And then my position was eliminated.
And I could breathe again. Except, not right away because I was scared shitless – like holy fuck what am I going to do with my life and what is life without work? So much of our identity is tied up in what we do. What happens when you no longer ‘do’ and simply just are?
I returned my company-issued tools, collected my personal effects and walked out of the building crying tears of uncontrollable relief I just couldn’t hold back. My daily grind had just become a lot less grinding.
In the weeks that have followed I’ve caught up on all the health appointments I’d been putting off. Dentist; check. Optometrist; check. Weekly massages to use up my benefits before they ran out; check. For the first time in a long time, I started to take care of myself.
I’ve had time to exercise almost every.single.day. I’ve taken up meditation. I’m blogging again!
I also now get to spend each and every day doing the most important job the universe has ever tasked me with – raising my son. This has been the most wonderful and joyful change that’s come about as a result of losing my job. I get to experience each day anew with him, through his eyes. Everything is magical and wonderful to him. It’s hard to be anxious and miserable when he’s just so darn happy and inquisitive about everything.
I get to play outside EVERY DAY. I get to take a freaking nap EVERY DAY. I get to be creative in a variety of ways EVERY DAY.
Losing my job has allowed my soul to begin to heal and strengthen a little bit more EVERY DAY. I smile. I laugh. I’m happy. I haven’t described myself that way in a very, very long time. Most importantly, my family reaps the rewards of my joy as well. My long-suffering husband is slowly getting back the vibrant, optimistic woman he fell in love with. My son no longer asks ‘why you crying, mama?’ These changes mean more than any paycheque in the world could ever compare to.
I thought that losing my job would be the worst thing that could happen to me but I was completely wrong – it’s actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise and probably the best thing that’s happened to me in a long, long time.