“Clarity is a state of mind,” SZA sings. “You are, you are, you are…”
It’s funny how easily we can shift from one state of mind to another, and how closely this constant transitioning is connected to our individual, subjective perceptions of time. One state of mind can last just a week; or, if you’re anything like me, you’re a completely different person at the end of the week than you were at the beginning. You know, different perspectives and desires. Now that I’ve been laid off, I’m in a different state of mind than I was when I was employed, just a week ago. The day it happened, I was in a panic. Then, I woke up the next morning feeling a little different — more calm, with a sense of clarity and hope.
People always talk about major setbacks like getting laid off in hindsight, describing how it ended up catapulting into something better — you know, like that story about Oprah getting fired at 23. But no one ever wants to back up and talk about it while it’s happening.
Losing your job really is like a sad breakup, where you don’t see it coming and you’re left in this state of immediate shock and disbelief, and maybe some initial denial. You have to question your entire reality for a moment. You have to reconfigure every aspect of your life. And you’re sad because you’re mourning not only what you had, but also the loss of a future and all of its opportunities. (I had plans, you know?) And then, one day, you simply wake up in a different state of mind. You look forward.
But no one wants to write that live, play-by-play account of a terrible life event. They only want to talk about how things got better afterwards. And anyway, you’re in a terrible state for a while and would rather be left alone.
A state of mind, a temporary reality, multiple re-imaginings of yourself… Is that really all we are?
I may have some sort of that initial panic lingering in my system, but now I get to channel it into concrete, productive actions, like applying for jobs, networking, or enjoying my involuntarily-extended vacation. Anything to keep me outside of my own head.
I may be in a terrible state, but no one can say I don’t handle it well.