About a year ago, I stood on the balcony of our rented beach house in Rehoboth Beach on the last day of our stay. And, as I stood there looking at the ocean, I wanted to cry.
And I had no idea why. I always hate leaving Rehoboth but this was a stronger emotional reaction than I’d ever had.
Of course, one year later, I now know that I was about to walk into a buzzsaw at work, leading to five hellish months that ended with my being laid off. And I think, in some way, I knew that was coming. And that’s why I was sad to leave.
Now, one year later, life is very different.
2014 has been the perfect storm of introspection. Unemployment combined with being at midlife has really spurred a lot of soul searching, a lot of thinking, too many conversations to count, a good dose of nostalgia, and a huge amount of flat out wondering what’s to come.
I mean, why stop at deconstructing one major facet of your life?
I’ve considered what I want to do next professionally. I’ve thought about where I want to live, how I want to retire, and what things I still want to do in life. I’ve thought about the personal issues I still struggle with. And I’ve reconsidered my relationships and who my friends truly are.
And what’s frustrating is that, after months of introspection, I’m not any closer to any solid answers.
I didn’t expect this would be easy but I thought I’d at least be close to some answers at this point.
I still have no idea what the next professional step is. All the advice I’ve gotten has been to find what would truly make me happy and do that.
But what if no job would make me happy? What if, like Ron Livingston in “Office Space,” all I want to do is nothing?
I think about moving, but I have no clue where I’d go. There are so many advantages to living here but I find myself getting tired of things in this city. So where do I go?
And my relationships have really come under the microscope. I’ve really considered who is genuinely my friend and who isn’t. And I’ve stopped making an effort with those who don’t make an effort back. That’s been very difficult to do, but it’s been necessary. So who truly are my friends? And who have just been playmates, acquaintances or friends just when I’m right in front of them?
Examining every aspect of your life while simultaneously trying to live that life is exhausting. And it’s a process that, once it begins, isn’t over quickly. I’ve now spent a year at this and I have no idea when it’s going to end.
And it takes an emotional toll. Combine bouts of frustration and outright depression with all this soul searching, then layer being an introvert on top of that. That’s a mixture that can put you on an emotional roller coaster at the drop of a hat.
It’s also a journey that you can’t stop once you start. You’re committed to it until the bitter end.
I don’t know where that end is going to be. But I hope that some serious milestones start to appear soon.