When we go to Williamstown for Christmas Eve, we drive through the Berkshires.
Since Williamstown is in a valley, there’s a final descent down a mountain to get there, including a switchback that’s always a little nerve-wracking, even though you know it’s coming.
The arrival of November feels like the start of going down that mountain.
Maybe it’s because I really don’t care for Halloween other than handing out candy to the kids who come to our door, so Nov. 1 starts the countdown to holidays I actually care about: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.
(Not to mention I’m just weeks from being able to drink egg nog and watch “Love Actually.” Suzi channel-surfed past the movie the other night, and although she was right — the end of October is way too early — it hurt.)
I enjoy the festivities, the lights, the time with family and friends … the anticipation. There’s a lot of crap that goes on the first 10 months of the year, so beyond the occasional fear that you’re missing the turn entirely and are about to go hurtling down a mountain to your death, it’s hopefully a time to be happy.
There’s just one potential monkey wrench, and that’s not having a job.
It’s not a financial issue. Believe me when I tell you that in my previous job, I saw what financial issues looked like. I was part of a group that took requests from people looking for help to buy Christmas presents for their children, and we couldn’t help everybody.
It was both heartbreaking and a reminder that we have it pretty damn good.
“… when you lose a relationship, especially one that was so important and central to your everyday life, you lose that associated meaning. And to lose meaning is to lose a part of yourself. So all of these things are intimately connected — your relationships, your sense of meaning and purpose, and your perception of who you are.”
“How to Get Over Someone and Move On with Your Life,” Mark Manson
Manson’s essay is actually advice for people whose romantic relationships have ended, but there’s an element that applies to work, as well.
Even if your job doesn’t define you, it’s a major part of your life … a place you spend a lot of time, where you make money, the answer to the question (even if it is a bad one) “What do you do?”
So not having one feels like there’s something missing, and unless something changes in the next eight weeks — which, let’s be honest, is closer to five or six, since there are probably a few weeks in there where there’s not a lot of hiring being done — it could be missing through the holidays.
I’ll just have to remember to enjoy myself, anyway.
“But the hard pill to swallow here is this: part of you is now dead and gone. It’s time to accept that and start rebuilding your life so you can move on.”
It wasn’t even just about getting laid off, but about the couple years before that, and wondering whether decisions made then laid the groundwork for where I am now.
Then I realized I had two choices. I could look for answers from the people involved, or I could put it away.
I chose to put it away.
I’ll never be happy about what happened, and I’ll never think it was right. But it’s a thing that happened, and there’s nothing to do about it now.
I hate the term “closure,” but that’s kind of what it felt like. Maybe it’ll pop up again, but I hope not.
Time to get on with it, once and for all.
The photo is one Suzi took on Christmas Day last year in Williamstown. It’s nicer than any photos I have taken there, so I used it.