When the vice president of the company handed me my letter of termination, the sucker punch of disbelief overtook the gradual realization that this was the best thing that ever happened to me. Getting laid off was like getting called on by my 6th grade math teacher when I was completely oblivious to the question; there’s the squirming awkwardness in the spotlight of not knowing what to say or do, but when the tortured moment passes it’s the most rewarding flood of relief a kid could possibly know. I walked out of the office that day feeling completely confused – my idealistic nature felt liberated from the weight of my responsibilities, while the realist in me felt the adrenaline rush of a drowning child barley keeping its head above water – the panic rising along side the ensuing circumstances. Mostly I felt a single question…
My new found freedom of having a place of my own was my first loss. Perfectly situated mid-distance between work and the gym, my hilltop fortress of solitude was a stone’s throw from the highway that led to the mountain or ocean. The nearby park trail system catered to my mid-day runs from the office as did my benevolent project manager, who empathized with my daily requirement of fresh air and blue sky. I had to admit I was sitting pretty; however, adding up the hours of lost life sitting like a doomed robot in cubeville was a convincingly offsetting counterweight. Giving up all that had been my life for the past 2 years made my stomach twinge, but my precocious anguish transformed into rising butterflies at the first thought of exploring my lifelong fantasy of taking a worldly walkabout. I had secretly daydreamed away countless hours, of abandoning my practical career and running off to explore the world. And now that the bars of my cage were torn down – I was free to run.
I had the rug pulled out from under me, but my feet landed solid on the decision to buy a plane ticket to South America.