I recently reached the 1 year mark since I was laid off. It’s a sobering reality and one that, quite frankly, bummed me out a bit. There’s something that I’ve learned, though, during that time: How to chill the hell out.
Before I was laid off, I was constantly stressing about providing for the family and trying to shoehorn my life into what I wanted and expected it to me. I expected for me to be working and my wife to not work. I expected and wanted to bring in a large income. I stressed and agonized constantly about making the right choices to make sure nothing unexpected – nothing unplanned – happened. Clearly, all of that stress was for not.
“…it’s hard to stay mad, when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst… And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life…”
In the movie “American Beauty,” Kevin Spacey plays a man named Lester Burnham who is out of work and then begins to undergo a more laid back, happier transformation. While his transformation involved some marijuana, buying his dream car and extreme things of that nature, the crux of his growth was a sudden feeling of being content. I’m sure that was aided by blackmailing his boss for almost $50,000 dollars, but I digress.
I’ve had to learn to chill out and not over analyze life – the Lester Burnham philosophy. Things will work themselves out as long as I’m present and can contribute in any way possible, then it’ll all be ok. I’ve had to force myself outside of my comfort zone and admit that me stressing about avoiding the What If scenarios will not benefit things in any way.
I still have a way to go, but I think I’m happier in a twisted way, knowing I can’t control everything. I’m trying to stop sweating the small stuff and to do just as my wife has tried to get me to do for years: be happy in the moment and not stress.