This project is the culmination of a life changing year. I, like so many others, lost my job in 2009. However, I did not lose my job because of downsizing or the economy. I lost my job because I was fired.
When I walked out of that office for the last time, I knew my life had to change. Drastically.
Soul-Searching: I began my new life by taking an official two week vacation from myself. I concentrated on relaxing, peeling off the layers of stress, and soul searching. I didn’t know what I was going to do, I just knew I wasn’t going back to Corporate America.
My A-ha! Moment: While on “vacation”, I thought about every aspect of my life. I had a great education, I came from a good family, I was a lawyer, I was supposed to be successful. With a pink slip in my hand, I felt very far from success.
My A-ha moment came when I realized I had spent 12 years trapped inside the wrong box. A box that had been created by my parents, not by me. I was scarred from years of fighting for success in a world that was never meant for me.
What was I Going to Do?
I truly didn’t know. I had been trapped for so long, I didn’t know where to start. The only thing I knew was that I needed to network.
A New Calling
I started by becoming active in my neighborhood association. In the summer of 2009, crime in Atlanta was rampant. Every day, my inbox was flooded with reports of burglaries, shootings, and car thefts. I hated sitting in front of my computer, waiting for the next email to arrive. I wanted to get involved, I wanted to do more.
I noticed my neighborhood was organizing an event to raise money for our local security patrol. My wheels started turning and I signed up to help organize the event. This event became my job and a new “me” began to emerge. I was happy and wildly creative. I started developing new skills, skills I didn’t even know I had. I also made a lot of great contacts.
This was the beginning of my reign as the Queen of Free Labor. I was willing to do just about anything as long as I enjoyed the work and could meet new people. My theory was, people know people, and people have ideas and connections. Turns out my theory worked.
The Second A-Ha!
I had my second A-ha! moment in October. My first A-ha! moment was realizing I didn’t belong inside the box. My second A-ha! moment was giving myself permission to live outside that box.
It had taken me twelve years to realize I didn’t belong inside the box. But, where did I belong? I was floating around in some kind of personal purgatory. I had been living in the box for so long, I didn’t know how to live any other way. And was I truly OK living any other way?
I often thought about running back to the safety of the box. Plenty of people told me what I was doing was crazy, “Do you know how bad the economy is?” Or in the words of my Father, “Do you know how much money you could be making practicing law?
But something kept telling me I was on the right path. And then one day it all came together. I gave myself permission to live outside the box, to recreate my life.
There wasn’t a particular moment or event where it happened and I certainly haven’t made it to heaven yet. It’s a gift you give to yourself with help from above. Knowing the best thing that ever happened to me was getting fired! Understanding what it’s like to be happy again and wanting to help others achieve this same feeling.
My story doesn’t have the typical Hollywood ending. In fact, there really isn’t an ending. This is just the beginning. The beginning of my Second Chance.