One year ago today, I was laid off. Half of my department was laid off.
Three weeks prior, I celebrated my 20-year anniversary.
It was unexpected. It was executed poorly. I cried.
Even as I attempt to write about it, I am still affected by it. Maybe I’m not as prepared to write about it as I thought I was, but I’ll keep going and see what comes out. I feel this may be cathartic in some way.
I know this happens to many people. And to some, multiple times over the course of their career. I still felt devastated by it, and consider it to be the worst day of my life. Which is probably why it was devastating… if being laid off from a place I worked for 20 years has been the worst of it, perhaps my life has been relatively easy.
And I think that’s true. Things have come easy for me. I haven’t really fought for anything I wanted in my life. I learned to expect things to come easily for me. I can see it now, reflected in how I haven’t finished many things I started. If it didn’t come naturally, or easily, I would eventually quit.
It’s reflected here in my blog. An unfinished 365 Photo Project, an incomplete Journey to Wellness… there’s so many things that, had I focused on and powered through to completion, I could be really good at right now.
At least I think so. This is where reflection can go wrong. What if your analysis results in the wrong conclusion? I suppose that’s part of living and being a human being. Learning from mistakes, making well intentioned “corrections,” learning from those mistakes, yada yada yada, and on and on we go.
The past year has been something of a sabbatical from what my life was. I haven’t returned to work. I unplugged from work-related people and social media. I gained weight and a personal understanding of depression.
I’m also gaining a better understanding of myself… my true and whole self; the good, the bad, and the ugly. Discarding the identities I’ve tried to live and discovering my authentic self is not coming easily. As I’m writing, I’m actually realizing—I did say this may be cathartic!—that this is all coming together.
Lack of a coherent sense of identity will lead to uncertainty about what one wants to do in life.
I have no idea what I want to do. It seems ridiculous that a person my age doesn’t know their authentic self, their life passion, and what they want to do.
I mean, I’d love to be a painter, but do I own any paint? Can I make a living at it? Ugh.
Figuring this stuff out is hard and overwhelming. It’s not coming easily so I quit. I’m sure my future self would like a word with me.
So, yeah. One year ago today was devastating. And as much as it hurt, it needed to happen. It was unexpected… an unexpected gift and opportunity.