Remember all that feel-good last week about the universe conspiring for your success? Well, let me tell you, she is one crafty minx. She conspired by eliminating the biggest obstacle in this success plan of hers: my job.
Yep, that’s right. Add my name to the multitude of people in advertising that get laid off at one point or another in their career. Honestly, I feel lucky to have made it as long as I did. But man, I did not feel on a path to success at that moment.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been laid off, but it ain’t fun. Like grief, the emotional rollercoaster takes its toll. Disbelief, shock, anger, resignation, possibility. For me, in that order. I did not see it coming. Totally out of left field. But hey, when the numbers look a certain way, finance people in their infinite wisdom trim the fat. (Seriously guys, if you’re going to trim fat couldn’t you have gone for the tummy or the thighs?) Being told you’re not the only one helps. Being told it’s not because you’re crap at your job helps. Sort of. But not really.
I decided to do nothing. I couldn’t seem to muster up the enthusiasm to look for a new job. I couldn’t seem to muster up the energy to put my pants on some days. (Have you ever heard the term Päntsdrunk? It’s the Finnish Path to Relaxation…Or the Guide to Drinking at Home. Alone. In Your Underwear. Sounded like a decent plan to me. There’s even a book about it. Of course, there is! Thank you, Peter Macey. And yes, we will be stocking this book in the shop.) I gave myself one week. Seven days. To wallow. To feel sorry for myself. To adjust. To drink in my underwear. The only thing off limits? Planning.
Päntsdrunk allowed me to breathe. To not immediately jump to the safe zone. I have spent my life in the safe zone, doing the right thing, going to a good school (Go Cats!), working for good companies, getting bigger mortgages, nicer cars, fancier vacations. And as I said last week, I definitely had fun. But did I have meaning? I heard a question that week that changed everything. “Are you writing your resume or your eulogy?”
That’s a big question with a capital Q. I’m in my late forties, looking fifty dead in the eye. I’m not dead yet. (Does anyone else hear Monty Python in their head with that phrase? I’m not dead! Not dead yet!) But I’d been checking a lot of boxes. Other people’s boxes. Could I do it? Could I not go back? Could I cast my fate to the wind (that’s for you, Kate Lepp)? And if I didn’t go back, what would I do then?
This is where I’m going to get all new agey and woo-woo on you. I didn’t live in Seattle for sixteen years for nothing. One of my best friends in the world gave me a black obsidian stone. (I love you, Kristen Elliot.) For those of you who had to look that up, like I did, black obsidian is apparently a powerful cleanser of psychic smog created within your aura, and is a strong psychic protection stone. (Nothing creates psychic smog like being päntsdrunk for a week, I’ll tell you.)
So, on a particularly dark night of the soul, while I tossed and turned wondering what the hell I was going to do with my life, I decided to hold on to the stone. I asked it a question, (basically what the hell was I going to do with my life), and waited for the answer. I finally fell asleep and when I woke up, it was very clear…Page 1. No ambiguity. No doubt. No psychic smog. Pure certainty that this was the path. And I hopped right on it.
Now, I know as well as you do that this was my magic feather. Like the one that convinced Dumbo he could fly. But I needed that. I needed my magic black stone to convince me to make that kind of decision. I needed to believe I could fly. And I haven't stopped believing since.
(Note: I didn’t ACTUALLY spend all seven days päntsdrunk. I wore pants when I walked the dogs.)
Image credit: BBC.com