We Interrupt This Broadcast

So two weeks ago (or so, I’m too lazy to check), I was assuming my next post was going to be the second post about my trip to Iceland. And then my somewhat “routine” existence exploded.

First, we’ve been researching and watching carefully out of the side of our eyes at the local real estate market. And a house popped up for sale in our neighborhood. So in the matter of a few hours we went from bystanders to mortgage pre-approval participants. 0 to 60 in short order. Suffice to say my “free time” and “mental energy” reserves were all redirected into the land of interest rates, loan types, deposits, 401K lending, and down-payments. It was exciting if a little harrowing. We live in a super competitive market and after viewing the house on our own we went back over the weekend to check out the open house. I’ve never seen that many people at an open house.

The property ended up with 11. ELEVEN offers. The winning offer’s escalation clause was dramatically over the list price. In hindsight, after the shock of the whole experience wore off, it was highly educational. We obviously, did NOT, end up getting the contract.

Which seems weirdly fortuitous, because 4 days later, I lost my job.
And so far I’m ok with it. It was… shocking but not a surprise. Which sounds contradictory but let me explain. I work for a startup. We were pushing really hard to turn our products/business into something profitable and we have a board of directors that are in place to make sure the investor’s money is being used wisely. So.. we had goals defined to meet within a year (which would be late June of this year), and things were improving but not fast. So I expected layoffs, but later… sometime in March.

Instead they opted to abandon our core product, to focus on the newer and potentially more lucrative product we just launched in November.  Which from a business standpoint, I understand, but it was still a dramatic move I didn’t see coming. As part of this they basically cut our organization in half. I was laid off along with 30 other people.

So… in some ways I feel like I was booted off of a potentially sinking ship. I am in excellent company (my colleagues are truly some of the most capable and intelligent people I know). And in the immediate (I’m talking under an hour) aftermath we were banding together. Someone put a group chat together, we now have an ex-employee Slack (team chat application) going. Several former coworkers reached out to offer to make introductions and get us in touch with hiring managers. I’ve been in touch with people nonstop since the hammer fell.

I’ve personally been offering resume support and have reviewed half a dozen resumes for my peers. It makes me feel helpful and like the positive energy that I’m putting out makes life a little easier for someone else, which is something I value.

R expressed his surprise at how I was immediately up and running. But to be honest it can’t be helped. I know I’ll process this all slowly, unconsciously. I loved my job. It was the first job that I had that I never had a day where I was just …over it. Tired sometimes, stressed, but literally every day of the nearly 3 years I was grateful. Glad to work with smart people, glad to be treated like an adult with support, respect, and autonomy. Something when I slow down, that I will be mourning in all sorts of ways. I just can’t right now.

Circumstances and my personality dictate that in a crisis, which hey… this very well is (unplanned unemployment is pretty traumatic, even if this is certainly not the first time I’ve been laid off) … I have to keep moving. So my feet hit the ground the afternoon I lost my job and I haven’t stopped moving since.

Being busy, being proactive, being supportive and helpful to my colleagues, I’m not going to lie, is leaving me feeling pretty optimistic. For now. Ask me again when the very short period of severance pay I have runs out. Let’s hope that hope holds.

 

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Year 40. Day 1.

I woke up. Brushed my teeth, puttered around. Picked up coffee and breakfast and drove to the park. The latte I finished en route and I ate most of a protein box in the car.  And then I went hiking by myself. Which… unless you count my exercise runs in the woods I’ve never done.

Matthew Inman (creator of the Oatmeal cartoon) wrote a thoughtful missive on the confusing and pointless idea of continuous permanent happiness. That’s how I interpreted it anyway. It’s not a destination you arrive at. Or a fucking journey either. The idea that you’re in this achievable stasis of contentment is just… wrong. It’s a recipe for frustrated failure that completely abandons the idea of nuance.

I am not always happy. Fuck, in the course of a single day the range of emotions I can, or may experience would read like a seizure of brain activity.

I think my goal for being 40 is just acceptance.  And by that I don’t mean passivity. I mean that for me there will never be enough. If I get hit by a car and lie bleeding in the street tomorrow, my dominant emotion will be frustrated rage, because I want more and it’s not enough time.  But what I realized when I laid with the arms of the person I’ve waited most of my life to be with riding out the last minutes of my thirties, is that… that same statement will probably still be just as true if I were 80. So I have to learn to take moments of satiety and accept that those are enough. I can’t use the word satisfaction, that doesn’t sound transient enough. I will feel… in moments, fulfilled. Not perpetually. Not as a single thing of achievement. Just here and there. And that sometimes I feel frustrated with the struggle to achieve, or to nail down what it is that I feel like I “should” be doing.  Not for anyone else, or record keeping, or comparison. Just… true attunement to the frequency I run on. That I have given myself enough fuel and space and input to know what it is that feels valuable and meaningful to me. To stop and pay attention to myself and go into the woods or read or write to listen to music and remember what I’m supposed to be doing.  Create. Thrive. Adapt. Struggle. Suffer if I have to, at least if the pain is part of intelligent growth, in pursuit of something meaningful. Because it won’t all be glorious joy, it can’t be.  Acceptance of the fact that the elation is always the counterpoint on the pendulum to sadness, grief, stress, struggle. And none of things are bad. They just are.

The kind of pain that’s pointless is the stupid external measurements and restrictions you apply to yourself that are part of a system or idea or goal that isn’t something self identified.  WHY are you doing what you’re doing? Is it for you? What purpose does it serve? If the struggle is truly in pursuit to be your own person it matters, it will have results you won’t feel frustrated by or stress that isn’t just an irritating pointless wave.

I need to spend more time deliberating. To… Exercise. Write. Read.

The end of my marriage was the start of something. The universe answering a question I spent a long time figuring out how to ask. Here’s a milestone birthday. Use your one lifetime wisely.  Weather the unexpected with as much patience and grace as you’re able, forgive yourself when things don’t go exactly as you planned. Chase the things you want. Love big. Leap, push, grow and don’t stop to look around to wonder what anyone else things about what you’re doing.  Don’t waste the time, because you can’t ever get it back.

Live. Live. Live!  because you’re eventually going to fucking die!