I got fired today.
Okay, that makes it all seem much more dramatic than it really is. The company I work for literally ran out of money for all of its part-time employees and, being one of those employees coming in to do general paperwork two days a week, I was logically relieved of my position. Does it suck? Hell yes it does. I can’t say I’m completely shocked—that’s what I get for working at a real estate office during a recession. I was planning on seeking out a new job anyway, my résumé could use some diversification, but I would much rather have handled the transition on my own time.
This got me thinking about the bizarre way in which I handle change; in particular, the way I handle bad news and generally unfortunate circumstances seems to be a bit off from most people. Namely, I don’t get sad. At all.
I’m sort of proud of it. I remember my freshman year roommate, a girl who seemed extremely comfortable in her new college life, giving in to homesickness and having a minor breakdown in early November. I was just watching her, trying to put on a sympathetic face but not really getting involved (I’m unsurprisingly not the greatest with crying people), and wondering why in the world I was not like that. The longest I had ever previously been away from home was for a three night cheerleading camp, and here I was, going on for weeks and months at a time without returning home.
Why? Because backing out and returning home was not a plausible option. I have a profound respect for the fact that there are things I cannot undo in my life and I therefore spend little time dwelling on them. Whether it’s a family medical situation, a theft, or a lost job, I cannot go back, so I choose to move forward. Sometimes it’s a situation like today’s, where circumstances beyond my control shake up my life; sometimes it’s my fault and I know it. No matter what, time as I experience it only moves in one direction and the most I can hope is that I fix what remains to be fixed and work to avoid repeating my mistakes in the future.
This will likely be one of the most spontaneous entries I make. I’m breaking all sorts of personal rules tonight—I’ll be posting something the same day I write it, I am typing without having a handwritten draft completed first, and I’ve interrupted the editing process of another entry to write this. I just thought I would let you know.
I just thought of something. I thought of Harry Potter. When I read Deathly Hallows for the first time, I remember sobbing at the news that Remus and Tonks had died in the battle. Remus is undoubtedly my favorite character in that entire world and I was utterly heartbroken to hear of his fate. (Yes, that’s a spoiler, but let’s be honest—if it’s taken you three years to read Deathly Hallows, that is not my problem.) In the middle of my worst book-induced breakdown ever, Harry had to muster the courage to meet Voldemort and his impending death in the forest. I wiped my eyes, allowed myself one last sob, and walked to the forest with Harry. I had to be brave for him. I had to be brave with him. This probably sounds preposterous to anyone whose lives have not been so affected by these books, but right then, I was being brave with Harry.
I think that’s where this mindset began. I may not be calmly walking to meet the end of my life, but there are plenty of things in my life for which I must be brave. This spring, a bombshell was dropped on me. One of my relatives was diagnosed with cancer and has spent the summer in chemotherapy. No, I haven’t cried. It may look heartless to others, but this is me being brave with her. When I treat wig and scarf shopping as though we are merely looking for a new pair of shoes, that’s me being brave with her. When I make jokes and never pause to consider the many ways things could have gone differently, I’m being brave with her. I hope helps.
When bad things happen more directly to me, I have to be brave for myself. For my sanity. For my future. No, I no longer have a steady supply of income for casual spending. But if I allow something like this to bring me down, I am only hurting myself. I strongly believe that the tiniest moment in my life has the potential to affect everything I will become. If I have even one good thought tomorrow, or next month, or in five years, it may not have happened if it weren’t for all of the bad situations I’ve ever dealt with and I cannot wish that any one of those situations hadn’t been. I must be brave in the face of misfortune before I can get to those good thoughts.
And so I will dive head first into whatever new adventures may come my way tomorrow. I must face them with every ounce of resolution I can scrape up. I must be brave for me, for those I love, for Harry, and, most of all, for the future.