I apologize, but today I’m taking a little break from the norm to share something personal. I don’t generally like posting my feelings out there on the internet for everyone to read, but I feel like I need to do this to remind myself how trying, yet rewarding, this past year has been.
A year ago today, the trajectory of our lives changed dramatically. We were working at the same company, and on the same day at the exact same time, we were laid off, along with several other people at the company.
That morning, we got ready and left the house to make our 5 minute commute to work. As we pulled up at a stop sign a few blocks from our house (I still remember exactly where), a thought popped into my head. “It’s going to be a good day.” I was a bit taken aback by this thought, because it was definitely not mine. If you’ve ever had a thought that was clearly not your own, you’ll understand what I mean. I am a major pessimist by nature, so these are not the types of things I think or say. It was so clear and so strong, that I wanted to say it out loud to Andrew, but decided to push it away instead. Everything went on like normal, until just a few hours after leaving our house, we found ourselves at home again, jobless.
It shouldn’t have been so surprising. Andrew had mentioned just a few months prior that he expected lay offs, for his position especially. He had even prepped his resume already. But it was surprising to me. You never think something like that will happen to you, let alone BOTH of you. First, let me just say thank you to everyone who prayed for us during that time, encouraged us, gave us job leads, etc. Our family and our church family were especially supportive, my dad in particular was the best encourager!! I can never say thank you enough for the ways that so many people touched us.
We were very blessed that Andrew found a job so quickly, though I never doubted that he would. He’s incredibly smart and makes one heck of a first impression (or so it would seem since he gets offers from the majority of places he interviews at). Within 2 months he was working again, and we were so grateful for the opportunity that had presented itself. But I was still confused, lost, hurt, and angry.
The whole process was a lot harder for me. Andrew moved on. I was stuck. Not because of getting laid off, really, but because I had a personal choice to make. Andrew’s job gave me the opportunity to choose whether or not I wanted to work. I’d never really had the option before, and I’ve always been a very determined person with the mentality that you go to school to get a job, you don’t “take a break” to travel or “find yourself”, etc. I’m practical. And staying at home when you don’t even have kids seemed like an impractical choice. But I didn’t love working a full-time job, and for once, I wanted to think about what I wanted to do, not what I felt I was supposed to do. When I made the choice to stop looking, I thought it was probably a temporary decision. I’d be ready to start looking again soon.
Meanwhile, I painted lots of furniture, wrote lots of blog posts, cleaned our house, and questioned everything. I worried that maybe I was throwing away the opportunity for a successful career. I worried that other people might think I’m lazy or selfish. And what about the money I could be making? I was stuck questioning my choices, and I was angry. Angry at myself for being indecisive. Angry at my previous employer for putting me in a position where I had to make this choice at all. Angry at God for not giving me clarity or peace about my decision. Even angry at Andrew, at times, for not deciding for me.
I think all along I just needed lots of time and self-reflection. By the time the new year rolled around, I decided to stop caring about the money. We were doing fine without it and my happiness was worth that to Andrew and I. And I decided to stop caring about what other people thought. I don’t let other peoples’ opinions affect my choices about anything else and I never have, so why would I get a job for anyone’s sake but my own?
Oddly, these realizations made me want to try working again. In early March, a temp job as a Staff Accountant at a local property management company practically fell in my lap, so I decided to give it a shot. After 6 weeks of full-time, I started feeling overwhelmed with my to do list and frustrated that I couldn’t do the things I wanted to do. I was able to switch to part-time and work 2 days a week.
Working again and realizing that for me personally, a full-time schedule isn’t worth the extra income, was a freeing experience. I’m still working 2 days a week and I don’t know how long I’ll be at this company, but for now I’m just along for the ride. I’ll work as long as they need me, and enjoy having a little more structure in my week and a little more money in our kitchen fund.
But that’s really all just background and context for what I actually wanted to say in this post. Which is that the past year has been hard, but also so incredibly rewarding. I take so much comfort in that little thought God put in my head that day…it was a good day. If it’s possible, I think it lays claim to the start of both the hardest and best year of my life. I’ve shed a lot of tears, but I’ve also made a lot of discoveries about myself, about Andrew, and about God. Our marriage has grown. We’ve had to examine and re-examine what’s really important to us, what we truly value. We’ve realized how many people care about us and will be there when times are tough. We’ve been able to spend more time with family, we’ve entertained more and made some truly amazing friends! I’ve had opportunities to do things that I couldn’t do if I was working, like babysit my precious niece and spend quality time with my sister-in-law, help my mom repaint her kitchen cabinets, invest in friendships that I didn’t feel I had time for before. Andrew’s been blessed with some amazing career opportunities.
Right now, life is good. It’s such a relief to have a time of rest and calm after a year filled with changes. I’m finally happy with where I’m at, and I’m feeling settled and content. I know this is just another phase of life, and that things will probably look very different for us in a few years. But I wanted to write this down so that when we do face another trial or something happens that we question, I can be reminded of God’s goodness. Reminded of how amazingly He took care of us and provided for us. Reminded of the fact that God had something planned for us that we didn’t even know to ask for. Reminded that today is going to be a good day.