I can count the scariest moments of my life on one hand, but only on of them has really about me. The first four involved the temporary disappearance or unexpected long-term hospitalization of one or more of my siblings. Next in line was my own ability to survive.
At age thirty-four, I found myself unemployed and living in a small town with seven-year- old orange tabby as my only companion. With no network of family and friends in the area, finding something other than an entry level job was going to be a struggle, and creating a social network (in the traditional sense of the term), was going to become crucial to my existence.
The first few nights of being unemployed were among the scariest in my life. I’d been working since the day I turned 15. With the exception of a summer living in Puerto Rico, I had been employed for nineteen years strait and couldn’t imagine a life without a job. What would I do with my time? How would I pay my bills? Where would I interact with people? Would I be forced to take a job that I hated? Then of course, the melodrama set in. Was I doomed to a life of temporary happiness followed by moments of despair?
Man, was I scared. I couldn’t sleep. I began eating away my emotions, somehow hoping that inhaling copious amounts of carbs would fill the void left behind by lack of self-confidence, self-love, and self-worth. Thankfully, this moment of “doom” only lasted a couple of days. I owe that to my support system of family and friends who sometimes know what I need better than I do.
The few who knew what was going on rallied their support right away, while some of those who had no clue had a “feeling” or an unsettling “urge” to call me. Luckily, the timing of my unemployment coincided with a friend’s wedding, which mean that I’d be surrounded by familiar faced during a time of need. It may seem silly, but sometimes all you need is friendship to quiet the voice of self-doubt.
All it took was a couple of texts, Facebook messages, gchats, the sound of familiar voices and the sight of friendly faces to remind me that while I was living alone in a small town, I wasn’t alone in life. After a weekend with friends I realized that being unemployed wasn’t the end of the world, but rather an opportunity for a new beginning. This was my chance to change the course of my life once again, and that course was going to start with a short sabbatical.
Taking time off wasn’t in the plan, but life has a way of giving you what you need when you don’t know you need it. So, I decided to play more soccer, take yoga up as my new hobby, and to embrace the wave that life had thrown at me.