Thursday, February 26, 2009

Kill the Future

The company that eliminated my job last year had another round of layoffs yesterday. Hearing from people peeled open the experience like a fresh wound. The confusion, frustration, anger. The sense of instability and fear in what the future might hold.

For me, those first 24 hours moved in slow motion. I can slip into the memory like it was yesterday. That odd sensation of leaving the building at 9:30am. With no place to go, I drove.

My sense of the present moment hightened sensation to everything around me. I could see again, I could smell, I could hear. There was no future. It was just me, alone in my car, living it moment by moment. And I wrote this poem...

I (heart) Balloon
Today, while driving on Route 50, I looked up
and saw a red heart shaped balloon
float over the roadway. Float over
and up. And I said, "Oh!" to no one,

I was alone in the car. The balloon kept
going, out of my sight. Free and bold--
so bright and odd against the baby blue

sky. Its cord cut. Like me, no longer
pregnant. Like me, without a job.
Like me--just stare as I float by, not

knowing where I'll land. And you may
gasp, "No!" thinking what would you do--
but I know that the air exhilarates.

There are things in life that job loss cannot take away. In fact, I realized, that my job had stolen something from me all those years: it had taken my sense of the present and replaced it with "security in the future."

How swiftly the present ran back into my arms like a child that morning. And as we embraced, I knew that things were okay. Not that they were "going to be okay" but that they were "okay" here in the present moment.

So to my friends and countless others who find themselves without a job this morning, I encourage you to take a deep breath, to look around you, to see, smell, let go of the future, and welcome the present back into your life.


  1. Thanks Katie! And thanks for calling me last night too. This is rather strange, but we'll see what happens.