The decks have cleared.
In the life of a woman whom I’ve never met,
Yet who felt compelled to share her story with me.
Folks do that.
I guess that’s the gift I get for sharing my bumpy road to happy here on these pages.
A gift I love.
She shared how her career had soared among some of the highest positions in Washington.
How once she was the youngest this.
The most accomplished that.
Suddenly she lost her job.
“The career I gave my life up for was gone,” she wrote in a raw, honest email this week. “I am now a 39-year-old out of work woman. Single. No kids. Certainly, not the life I had dreamed of for myself.”
She figured I’d understand, since my story had been so similar to hers.
Losing a job, personal life at a big zero.
All that before reinventing my life, my career.
“Your story gives me hope,” she told me.
I see sparks of hope in her own story.
How she’s started a new company.
How she has other projects in the works.
How she’s allowing herself to consider the thought that she actually might now be happier without the career that she clung to.
The one that defined her.
The one she would’ve never walked away from had she not been let go.
Her energy brought me back to that time.
Fresh out of work.
Pounding mega-hours to launch my website and begin writing my first book.
They were all bouncing around inside of my head and my heart.
They weren’t alone.
There was also fear,
Like overly-caffeinated political candidates screaming throughout my soul.
“This is amazing!” the positive feelings roared. “You should be so thankful for this opportunity!”
“I’ve never been so scared!” the negatives screamed back. “Why did anything need to change?”
Have you done this, Dear Reader?
Try to make all your feelings fit into one box?
It was enough to make me crazy.
Until I heard three words.
Three little whispered words taking charge of the emotional chaos.
“It’s all true.”
Those three little words validating every intense feeling trying to rule my world.
I stopped trying to fit any experience or challenge into a single box.
No emotion gets to win.
If something is thrilling, it’s probably also scary.
If something new makes me happy, chances are it came at the expense of something or someone who went away, which rightfully makes me sad.
“Please let yourself know that it’s all true,” I asked of the woman as I guessed all was not exciting and shiny in her new chapter.
Much rebuilding is ahead for her.
I wish her strength,
And most of all, kindness and compassion,
To herself, as she soars and struggles,
For both are surely on the horizon.
Clear the deck of that single box.
There is room to feel them all.
To remember, “It’s all true.”