I recently had a conversation with a friend who was laid off not too long ago. She’d reached out to me to ask if we could talk, and was very clear about what had just happened to her and how it was a good thing – a very good thing. She was looking forward to spending the summer with her children and taking the time to figure out what she really wanted to do. She’d already had one job offer since she’d been laid off, but had turned it down. She’s determined to take advantage of this time and I’m so impressed by her. It takes a lot of confidence and courage to be that comfortable with ambiguity, especially when it comes to your livelihood.
That conversation has been rattling around in my head for the past few days. When we think about losing our job, it’s usually in some kind of worst case scenario. But I’m so proud of my friend’s outlook and her ability to see the flip side of this coin. Rather than seeing tragedy and fear, she’s embracing the opportunity to focus on what’s most important to her. She’s prioritizing her family in the immediate future and using the time to think through what her long-term future could be. We so often get bogged down by the unknown, and seeing her excitement and optimism is refreshing. Yes, her husband is in a stable job and they’ve planned well. And they’ll save money by not putting the kids in daycare for the summer. They’ve planned and are ready with a list of adjustments to their lives that they can make at various points along this journey. Of course, this all affords her a certain amount of freedom, and I realize not everyone has that. If she was solely responsible for the family income, insurance and the like, it’s a different scenario. Even then, however, knowing my friend, she would have made plans in case something like this happened. She’s a planner and makes sure she’s prepared for whatever needs handling – whatever may be lurking around the corner.
What strikes me in addition to her embracing this situation is the reminder of the resilience we all have in us – the ability to get our shit handled, no matter what comes at us. Yes, we may have to change course and shift direction. Sure, things may not look exactly like we’d imagined, or turn out as we’d planned (does life ever turn out how we’d planned???). We may have to adjust the way we live and approach the world, but at the end of the day, we all have the confidence and courage to find our own path. We may just need to dig a little deeper, but it’s there. And I’m grateful for the people and events that remind me of my own ability to persevere – it’s a valuable life lesson for me that I learn over and over again.