October 13, 2009
As a child, I was obsessed with outer space. If I had to guess now, it was more likely the idea of a vast universe with all sorts of matter floating around. It intrigued me and filled my mind with curiosity for years, the existential questions of what is really out there, the unknown. Because I’m so familiar with these thoughts in my own mind, I often wonder why is it so scary, the unknown? I’ve always wrestled with it. Now, the full disclosure–after thinking our life was going one way, it’s clearly not.
This was supposed to be our baby year. This was supposed to be my writing year. This was the husband gets a promotion at work year so I could have both the writing and us working on trying for a baby. Then, the economy tanked, just after I’d started up my business.
Then, my husband’s company kept eliminating positions until finally, while I was in California (which you’ll read all about next week) visiting my sister, my husband calmly (err, sort of calmly) told me he’d been laid off. The news was delivered in a tone I recognized from five years prior when I was post-appendectomy with my husband tearing through the Piedmont Hospital hallway screaming, “My wife is throwing up!” and me sitting in the mechanical bed covered in vomit wearing my coke bottle glasses, crying, “I don’t know why you love me!” We really know how to hold it together, the both of us.
It didn’t come as a huge surprise. We’d been waiting for this day for a while, as the writing has been on the wall for ages now. But, if you ignore it enough, it goes away, right? Let me tell you, waiting for the shoe to drop doesn’t make it any less scary. Or easier. So, there’s quite a bit of unknowns at the moment. More than I can begin to wrap my head around.
It’s cliché to say (but I don’t care), that at least my husband and I do have each other. And we’re solid, and I truly believe he’ll land where his talents will be used in a way that they weren’t before. So, I’m hopeful for that. But, this wasn’t in the plan. None of this was (is getting laid off ever in the plan?). I’ve always thought it isn’t how you fall, but how you stand up that gives most their strength, that grace under pressure. My behavior generally is more Elaine in Seinfeld where she’s badgering Mr. Pitt about whether she has grace or not. But, I’m trying to behave with grace on this one. And not go straight to freaking-the-eff-out mode, running around the place like Yosemite Sam slinging guns (err resumes), applying to every job position in my path. That’s just not smart. Because ultimately, we want this opportunity to take us to where we haven’t been before–achieving our own standards of personal and professional success simultaneously.
He and I are always pretty good about the trade-off; most of our marriage has operated that way and it works for us. I wanted to leave CNN years ago, so he stayed, made the steady paycheck and let me pursue my passions. Fast forward a few years, to when I had a stable position as a publicist, he too jumped off the CNN ship to move closer to what he wanted to be doing.
We cannot worry about things we cannot change … we can only move forward in the most proactive way, with both of us fighting like mad to make it in our fields, while one day eventually, hopefully teaching kiddos how to tell time and reading bedtime stories to balance it out. I know the unknown will bring about a lot of change … with me possibly going back to work full-time, us potentially moving from Atlanta, and a whole slew of other scenarios that I’m trying really hard to not think about and just let pan out the way they are supposed to.
Because in the end, there will always be unknowns–but, we also cannot ignore the symbols and messages around us. While I do believe that not everything means something, two whoppers happened to me the day before my husband was laid off.
1. I’ve been known to trip … a lot, but not necessarily wipeout. While on a 6-mile trail run with my sister and her friend in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, I fell really hard, landed sort of in yoga cow position and jacked up my knees and palms. If falling on your hands and knees isn’t a sign to reevaluate and slow down, I don’t know what is. I have the gravel burns and bruised knees to prove it. Got the memo loud and clear.
2. I got my cards read out of a Zen deck–the center card (the issue) was transformation, to the left (the internal influence that you are unable to see) was thunderbolt, meaning that’s how I process things, like a lightening thunderbolt (no shite Sherlock), to the right of center, the card for the external influence of which you are aware was playfulness (the sign that you are ready for the fresh and new), the lower card in the diamond is what is needed for resolution (to the said issue). My card was patience (cue Twilight Zone music). The last card, placed up top, is the resolution, meaning the understanding–friendliness is what it said.
I’ve always been a seeker of knowledge, a reader, and thinker. That is why I pay attention to cards readings just as much as I do to more structured spiritual practices. Some things are not symbols, but distractions, but tripping and falling hard, must certainly mean something. Enough to take your breath away and make you tread lightly for a bit. As do cards flipped over with transformation, thunderbolt, playfulness, patience and friendliness on them–to be followed by job loss news less than 12-hours later.
And I do understand that there are far worse things in life than getting laid off. It’s sort of fitting though, choosing to write about the unknown this week because 6 years ago, we were married. I know we walk stronger together today than we did separately as I nervously swooshed in my lovely gown (ivory, hand beaded, silk, strapless–oh how I loved you) down that church aisle towards the unknown waiting for me at the other end. For now though, we’re both walking slowly and deliberately, trying to take great care in the journey we’re on. None of this was in the plan, but I suppose there’s a greater message. I’ll let you know when I find it floating around in the abyss.