Social media and blogs in particular are notorious for being the ultimate in life-highlight reel moments, and rarely share the downs that balance out the ups we experience in life. I’ve been debating writing this post for nearly two weeks now for this very reason, but in light of keeping it real, here goes.
Last week, I was let go from my job.
It was definitely unexpected and stung quite a bit when it happened, but it’s kicked off a wonderful period of self-reflection so far and has allowed for some seriously great doors to open up.
The thought of losing your job is a scary one for the average person and when it happens, it feels like a punch in the gut that can seriously put your happiness and self-esteem at risk. It can send you down a slippery slope, one that starts with dangerous levels of self-doubt and eventually leads you into a state of sadness that can feel impossible to bounce back from. Thankfully, I have an incredible support system and my moment of depression didn’t last very long.
I called my parents as soon as it happened in tears, fearful they would share my concerns and only make my panic grow worse, but I received the opposite. I spoke with Brad after speaking with them and delivered the news, and he too was nothing but supportive. The message from my loved ones was consistent – “you’re going to be fine.” Suddenly, things didn’t seem so bad. It was just a job. I was going to be okay.
After indulging in a night of moping and tears (accompanied by pizza and red wine, courtesy of my incredible boyfriend) I spent the majority of last week really looking inward and evaluating my happiness. Was I content where I was in life? Was I doing what I wanted to do? It was crystal clear that somewhere along the way over the last 12 months, I lost my passion and spark for my career. At just 23 years old, I was already tired of the path I was on – it was no longer a fit. I had gained weight and despite focusing on my eating and getting in exercise, couldn’t lose a pound for the life of me. I was constantly tired. My blog felt like a chore. Maintaining any level of excitement in my relationship felt like a daunting task. And yet, I continued to push forward thinking I had no choice but to do so.
So there I was – jobless with no real immediate next steps in place. It would be easy to take the glass-half-empty approach and see this as a massive failure, but I couldn’t (and still can’t) shake the feeling that this was an incredible opportunity for me. I have so many years ahead of me and already such incredible life and work experience behind me that I know I’m positioned to do something amazing – call me conceited, but I can feel that. I’ve always known I’m meant to do something big and great, and while I thought I had that figured out for a while, it’s obvious I’ve barely scratched the surface.
With all of that said, I also know that whatever big accomplishment I’d like to have someday doesn’t have to happen right now. So, I gave myself permission to slow down. I cannot remember a time in my life when I haven’t been charging ahead, fighting to reach and surpass the next level of whatever I was doing with a detailed strategy and timeline in place. Whether it was school, Air Cadets, part-time work or eventually my career, I have always been in competition with myself. It’s paid off in many ways, but I don’t know what it is like to press pause on those things and focus solely on my well-being and just enjoy what’s happening around me. Right now, I need that.
The good news is, I was able to secure a potential opportunity that will be a better role in almost every way within 24 hours of losing my job. It will be a few weeks before anything will happen on that, so for now I’m focusing on me and my happiness. I’m continuing to see what’s out there opportunity-wise and reconnecting with some old colleagues and friends. I’m getting things done around my apartment I’ve been putting off, getting lots of rest and exercise and spending time with family and friends before many of them take off to start new chapters of their own – my parents who are moving to the Caribbean, my sister who’s moving and getting married, one of my best friends who is moving to England.
If you told me a month ago this was going to happen I’d have said it would be one of the worst things I could experience. It’s proof I had lost sight of what was important – we’re not here to have a career or job define us or determine our happiness. In fact, exactly five years ago on that same Monday (the Monday after Mother’ Day) I had received the news my best friend had taken her own life. It reminded me that losing my job paled in comparison to the very real things in my life I could lose at any moment. Today, nearly two weeks after the fact, I’m happy to say it’s one of the best things that’s happened to me in recent years.
For me, happiness is a choice. You only have today, and it’s up to you to take whatever you have now and make the most of it.
I choose happiness. I always will.