At 9:30 a.m. on this day last year, I was sitting in an office I had grown to hate in suburban Philadelphia. This morning, I was making arrangements to meet up with another expat writer for coffee and some work on the laptop in downtown Sydney.
Today marks a year since I got laid off (which means it’s almost the year anniversary of this blog). I will never forget that Tuesday–the tap on the shoulder from my boss just before 10 a.m. as she uttered the words, “You need to come with me.”
Walking down the hallway to the little conference room was like going to the corporate death gallows. I knew what they were going to do to me, and my hands were shaking. As I walked through the door and faced my editorial manager, a sheepish grin crept across my face, probably out of nervousness. She said, “Lauren. Always with a smile, even now.”
I have not faced everything in my life with a smile. In fact, things that occur in the daily grind can turn my mood upside down, and I am still working through things that happened long ago.
But when it came to joining the ranks of Americans who lost their jobs in this economic downturn, I was committed to turning it into something positive. A full 365 days later, I can confidently say that I have.
I started working for myself as a writer and editor, effectively telling the corporate culture that expelled me that I didn’t need it to make a living and thrive in my field. This change allowed me to move to the other side of the world, where I’ve been seeing and doing things I never imagined and making a whole new life for myself on my own.
The limbo period between getting laid off and starting to work for myself and plan for Australia allowed me time to work through some issues and things that had happened. And let’s not underestimate the fact that as of 12 months ago, I no longer have to get up at 7:30 a.m. to get to work. Everyday that I peep open an eye and glimpse a hand at the 9 of my clock, I relish that fact.
I don’t think it’s accurate to say that the “life that broke” is now mended. Rather, its fractures and wounds formed sutures that have allowed it to grow into something new.