Sometimes it takes a moment of stillness to actually understand the threading of your life, taking a moment of silence and allowing yourself to be momentarily frozen in time can be the liberation we all quietly seek. On the edge of another birthday I find myself unemployed, and naturally people have sympathetically (more so unnecessarily) felt the need to give advice with vacant well wishes. The obligatory kindness is appreciated and it’s understandable as to why it’s been given, but I am by no means the assumptions people seem to harmlessly draw.
Throughout your teenage years, everyone asks ‘what are you going to do with yourself? What does the future you look like?’ And rarely are people brave enough to admit they have no actual clue; which in hindsight seems the most logical. It’s almost ridiculous to think that one must choose the direction of their life before they’re even legally able to drink. I only wish that I was wise enough then to have the awareness that I have now – to know that it’s okay to want things that aren’t necessarily reasonable or typically safe, or even to be brave enough to at least try something, or become someone.
I walked down the street with my head lowered to the ground and tail between my legs – confused as to what just happened. The letter had said I had been let go and that the company was unexpectedly making new changes. I was suddenly for the first time in really long time- unemployed. Everywhere I looked well-postured people in suits were either talking into their phones or moving in a way that bettered themselves from everyone else- and there I was standing idly still, similarly dressed but no longer one of them.
It hurt. I watched my plans for the year crumble; began to mentally ration my travel savings for everyday use and pointlessly argued the situation in my head over and over again. It took a sad amount of time to acknowledge that losing my job meant that I actually had time to have a life albeit even a smile for a change, it meant one the largest reasons for my humdrum living was now removed. It really was a blessing in disguise; a new beginning almost- just took awhile to see.
To be perfectly honest though, sitting in your parent’s house with a bowl of cereal watching daytime television is by no means a good thing. You find yourself pathetically applying for pizza delivery jobs and handing out resumes alongside teenager students and most painfully, your ego takes a brutal beating- but after an entitled week of lounging around in your underwear you actually begin to think, to think about the trajectory of where you actually want to go and how you want to get there. To take a moment of quiet thinking to actually identify what you want. I want to travel the world, I want to write and experience everything, and I don’t ever again want to wake up thinking ‘I have to go to work rather than I get to’.
I’ve been on interviews for a couple of mundane roles but am not yet ready to return to the confinements of a four-walled setting. I don’t think I’ve tried and failed enough yet to go back and settle for the grind of money making that a lot of people seem to fall in love with. Everyone my age seems real mature, and it may look like I’m a little careless to be unemployed and not really chase opportunities that my resume could earn, but if being unemployed has taught me anything it’s that there’s a difference between standing idle and being patient, a difference between a having purpose and being purposeful and most importantly a huge difference in who you settle for and who you want to be.
I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t yet completely grasped the notion of chasing ambition and am not nearly close to having my future planned out or even half envisioned; but at least I know that I still can. Being unemployed is difficult for sure, I constantly find myself contemplating the cost of a cup of coffee, but knowing the past pain of working for no cause makes the struggle a little easier to accept.
I’m twenty-two and unemployed, not senile and hopeless so thank you for the well wishes, but I’m doing okay. Watch this space.