I am wrung out. I have spent the morning lying in bed with a book, and now it is lunchtime, but I cannot fathom getting out from under these warm covers. It has been almost two weeks since the big news, and what a wild ride it has been. My initial plunge into fear, humiliation, desperation. And then my soaring trip into a sort of euphoric mania. My mind has been buzzing with ideas and plans, filling me up so that I hardly notice my feet on the ground. I jumped on the eliptical trainer at the gym earlier this week, and the ideas came at me from all directions. When my 30 minutes were up, I had no memory of the burning of those 300 calories. I didn't feel the pain in my legs, just the buzzing in my brain. Contacts to make, meetings to schedule, jobs to apply for, businesses to start. The kind of creativity and excitement I haven't felt in years has come flooding back. Suddenly, a dead end has turned into an open door. I've spent the past week in the office practically radiating happiness, unnerving coworkers who think they have won the prize, not me.
And then yesterday the office was humming with activity, people engaged in their jobs, me quietly cleaning my desk, feeling adrift on my own private island, and I thought, How dare they say I am not good enough to participate in this? I deserve to be in the thick of it. I am better than most of them. How, how on earth, could they have looked at this room full of people and chosen me to cast out? But then I tamp those thoughts down, remember the costs of being chosen to stay on this team, and I know this small outrage means nothing in the scheme of things. It is worth every unspoken judgment and pitying glance to get this severance package and leave it all behind. Without question. Still, I look at the 10-year-old journal buried in my desk drawer, full of angst and guilt and hope, a record of a younger self who believed there was such a certain path ahead, who saw herself as her only limitation. I have already mourned that person, that career, that dream. But it is still like pulling out the photo album full of pictures of a beloved dead relative. You can't help but feel the sting of what is lost.Right now, I am standing on a precipice. The door is open, but I don't yet know what is on the other side. I trust that there is firm ground there and sunshine, a whole new life waiting to be created. But the flood of emotions that comes with taking these first few steps is damned exhausting.