I am not so sure that I have been completely clear about the last few months. I rarely allow time for reconsideration once I make a decision, as I try to trust my gut. However, I am generally a creature of habit with little things--work especially. So when I was laid off in February, it didn't hit me. I'd receive unemployment. I'd look for something more suitable. No biggie--I'd been through far worse. I'd speak in the same vague generalities that have defined my life for the past four years.
This isn't about being laid off. Being laid off generally blows if you are invested in your job, and/or if you are in debt. This was not me.
This is about lists.
My friend Ben is a huge advocate of lists. So when I called him that night on the way home, telling him what happened, his response seemed logical and tempered.
Make a list.
He told me to chill out that night. I watched a mermaid teen movie with my roommate (Aquamarine, if you must know. But this really shouldn't surprise you if you have been within locker-makeout distance of me). I drank copious amounts of diet soda and used the "Vodka Emergency Kit" that my friend Eric had made for me. I kept blinking with wide eyes. I fielded phone calls from all of the friends I had made at work and assured them that I had a good feeling about this opportunity.
The next morning, I rolled over. It was two hours later than I normally would wake up, and it seemed so natural that the light streaming through the window should be my alarm. Fleetingly I thought of my friends in their cubes. I knew who was getting tea, who was calling IT. I knew who was saying hello and I knew who was talking about what they had for dinner the night before. My new reality was this room, these four flat white walls and a big window that looked out onto a street packed with vehicles.
So, the list. Ben had told me that it might be really important to make this list first thing in the morning, before I set out filing for unemployment or going to the bank or figuring out some sort of plan.
My list was about my new life--what I wanted from it. Where I wanted to be, who I wanted to be, what and who I wanted to be surrounded by. Once I started, the more detailed things became. I wanted an art job. I wanted to be immersed in culture, learning, and positivity. I wanted to have a garden and love without boundaries.
The list got longer and longer, and took a few hours to put together. I put it up on my wall, filed for unemployment, and took a shower.
It's almost two months later. I have that list up, but it's in my new apartment in Los Angeles, and it's been re-written to include new ideas, or ammended thoughts. I am trying my best to make decisions out of sincerity and truth, not necessarily couched in comfort or safety.
I have surprised myself, and I think it's in part to the fact that my dreams are articulated on a piece of graph paper. You know yourself better than you think, and I encourage you to give yourself more credit. My life is not easy now--I'm broke, like, ramen-noodle broke-- but I have never been more positive, free, and full of hope.
Maybe, someday, I can feel an inkling of knowing that I am my own hero.