I read an article the other day that described the benefits of keeping a gratitude journal for thirty days. Obviously, this isn’t something new, but I did appreciate how Jeff Vrabel in “Success” magazine, April 2017, was able to move past negativity and found keeping a simple gratitude journal therapeutic. I will give it a shot and see what happens. Welcome to day one of what I plan on doing for thirty straight days. Perhaps longer. We’ll see.
Life has dealt me a punch in the gut recently. After spending over seventeen years with my current employer, and in spite of having a great record with my evaluations, HR mandates, etc…, I received the news that due to “downsizing”, my position, as well as another peer manager will be released from our contracts. After the initial shock and disappointment, I felt true despair and sadness, later morphing into anger and resentment. I’m still reeling, even after a month removed from receiving the news.
My future feels quite uncertain. My retirement options are equally unknown. Constant feelings of nervousness and anxiety permeate through me each day. I can’t relax. I almost feel sick thinking about my dedication at work amounting to little. I have trouble enjoying a good book like I used to. Why? I feel guilty if I take some moments to enjoy things. Every moment of time spent relaxing and enjoying my hobbies and interest should be spent scrounging the job postings, or working with placement agencies. I only felt worse when Mom passed away in 2012. If I take a day off from looking, will I miss that one special opportunity? Will I miss one by watching a movie? I feel more strung out than ever. I can’t sleep well. Relaxation eludes me, and my mind is restless and unsettled. How will we be able to do ‘X’, or will we be able to do ‘Y’? Will we be able to enjoy a vacation, or even stay in our reasonable home? The unknown element is so unsettling.
I know I’m not the only one who has been in this situation, and I’ve been trying like the dickens to stir up a lead or two. Working every day at customizing my resumes to fit job postings better (no lying, but simple shifts in emphasis to fit the job better), and waiting. People argue that the wait can be the hardest part. I agree. Checking the email every ten minutes or so hoping to see someone reaching out for an interview scheduling. One comes in for insurance sales, and I suddenly find myself thinking about it. A few months back, I’d have blown the email away so quickly, now it seems to take on a new meaning. The phone rings, and you drop everything, scurrying over to grab it. It’s an automated robot-telemarketer caller. Dammit!
The anger and disappointment resonate within me still. I did nothing to deserve being let go. The department and organization is very healthy. This was a decision that didn’t have to be made. Many others I worked with feel the same. But it is what it is, and I have to press on. The house isn’t going to pay for itself. The bills don’t hold off simply because I received a bad break. I have skills and talent, and am not cocky, but know I can be a valuable asset, if only given an opportunity. So things will work out, but until then, the struggle with uncertainty continues.
After reading the article, I realized something. An epiphany! This is the perfect time to spend a few minutes each day documenting things to be grateful for. It worked with the author, so why not for me. So for day one in what I hope will be thirty straight days of gratitude, I’m grateful for love. The love of someone special. The love of family and friends. Even the love of a couple of sweet dogs and a cat that we have.
The love and support of friends, my dad and both brothers, and other family members, but especially the love of Lori, my soul mate and the love of my life, all prop me up in my time of need. At first, the darkness filled my mind and my spirits were low, but slowly they rise. The sun rises once again, the fog lifts. Yes, my career has taken a blow, but we’ll rise. I choose to not feel alone or isolated. I don’t need to feel embarrassed at being without a job. If anything, I’ve learned much about myself over this past month, and have a new sense of empathy for those in similar situations. Sometimes bad things happen to good people.
I stagger back to my feet, and the dust falls away as I brush myself off. The helping hand of my family and friends makes it easier. I look forward. The future awaits, but I have to move towards it. I’ll keep seeking and scrounging, and hopefully win someone over with an opportunity soon. That’s all I seek, just that one opportunity, but I need to move forward. One step at a time. Always moving forward. Love drives me. My steps grow more sure and confident.
Day one: I’m grateful for love, which will endure and propel me forward.