Hi! Remember me? Yeah I know, it’s been forever; 19 days to be exact. It’s currently 10pm on Saturday and I am writing this in my king size bed in my brand new apartment. Yes, you heard that right! If you’ve been so kind as to have followed C and me from the start you’ll remember that I was living with my fiance’s parents. BOOM plot twist! (for all you Mr. Forever fans, he is currently snoring next me, don’t pass out please). You want to talk about #adulting and #life, please read below at the cluster that I promised you would come.
I LOST MY JOB: #unemploymentbenefits
I can officially collect a LIFE tile and continue 5 spaces. It’s something that no one wants, lot’s of people get to experience and a small percentage (lucky, unlucky? still debating, keep you posted) never have to worry about. I truly thought I was a part of that small percentage. I worked for this company for almost 4 years, working my way up from an intern fresh out of college to actually running my local facility. Was it hard? YES. Did it require long hours? Is 16 hours a long day? Did I want to crawl into a hole and never come out? Sometimes 5 out of 7 days a week. Did I love it? HELL YES. I was #BOSSLADY.
Friday, February 3rd came along and a very important man from HQ called at 1pm to tell me that my facility had to be shut down…immediately; our last class would be at 6pm. 4 years of work, sweat (literally our facility was an indoor/outdoor 50 yard turf field/weight room), tears and family gone…not to mention salary, medical and benefits. Just like that. Now it wasn’t due to any financial downfall on my end; we were killing it here. Basically us and our partners entered a measuring contest and for an unknown (to me at least) reason we lost. By 3pm all our members were notified, Monday at 11:30pm all of our equipment was packed into a storage unit and Wednesday I had filed for unemployment. It was unknown as to when we would be getting a new facility. Luckily I still had coaching/training to keep me going (and had 16 more hours in the day to do it).
After the shock and denial wore off over the weekend and Monday morning came, I started to go through the next 4 stages of grief. While cleaning out the facility anger hit, and giiiiirl was I angry. I was angry at our partners, I was angry at the members for lacking compassion and only worrying about their money, I was angry at my staff for not helping to pack up and I was angry at my company for not seeing this coming. I was even angry at Mr. Forever for having his job and being able to wake up and go to work. Over the next few days I began to blame myself; “What if I had made the partnership better?” “If only I had known about this, I could have maybe stopped it.” On and on and on. This would be the third phase known as bargaining.
The fourth phase was the hardest and longest phase. It lasted 42 days: depression. I didn’t open the curtains in my room, I went to the gym maybe 10 times, I stopped eating and showering and binge watched so much tv I made an impression in our mattress. I was completely lost and out of control. For 4 years I worked an average of a 12 hour day 5 days a week. I got up at 5am every morning and went to sleep at 11pm every night. I worked out 3 times a day and meal prepped my 7 meals. For 4 years I had a routine and in a matter of a 2 minute phone call it ended. 2 weeks into my depression I got a really bad case of the flu that lasted 12 days. Over working actually kept me healthy all those years, who would have thought? I cried until I could no longer cry and then I just became a zombie.
Acceptance finally came and I realized that the last 4 years were the best years of my life and gave me not only job experience, but life experience. I dominated in a male dominate world and kicked ass while doing it. I met extraordinary people whose relationships I still maintain, I worked out with professional athletes and more importantly I made a difference in the lives of over 200 people that walked through my doors. I am forever grateful for those 4 years.
I APPLIED TO GRAD SCHOOL…AND GOT IN: #masters
47 days after the bomb dropped and a lack of compatible job options, I decided that I was going to go back to school. I always told myself that if I was ever going to go back to school it would be under 3 conditions: before I was 30, the timing was right and it would be for teaching. Well the day I submitted my application I turned 26; fitting right? I went into the counselor’s office looking for information and ended up applying to get my master’s in Elementary Education. A few weeks later, I received my acceptance letter.
Now in only a month, after 4 years of not sitting in classroom, I will be starting classes. In a year’s time I should be standing in front of 20 elementary school kids hoping to make a difference in their lives. I’m scared out of my mind, but that is what is so exciting.
WE FOUND A HOUSE…AND LOST IT: #notforsale
It had been over a year that we’d lived with Mr. Forever parents and it was great, believe me when I tell you that they are the chillest in-laws to inherit and it was not weird or uncomfortable at all to live with them. It was just getting time for us to spread our wings and fly the nest so to speak. We were about 160 days away from getting married (GASP) and it was just time for us to move on as a couple. Plus, his sister is graduating from ECU and is doing her internship locally and living at home; too many people…and animals, not enough space or privacy.
We shopped around and ended up finding the perfect brand new town home about fifteen minutes away from family in an up and coming area. The same day I turned 26 and applied to grad school, we applied for a loan. Well all good things come to an end and our housing bliss did just that. You see, my lack of income hurt us dramatically when it came to applying for the amount we needed in order to get that home. We were only approved based on Mr. Forever’s income and we just missed it. We were approved for an amount that would take us about 40 minutes outside the area, which I did not want to do.
Cue a mini depression and pitty party for the following 48 hours until Mr. Forever (who at the time was traveling) and I had a come to Jesus meeting and decided that until we finished the next transition of our lives we needed to think small. I went and found an apartment the next day. Now this apartment is just big enough to fit us and our two pets. We are VERY comfortable; but it’s everything we need and nothing that we don’t. It’s brand new, in a great location close to family and financially we can afford it with one income.
LESSONS LEARNED: #adultingishard but #lifegoeson
The last 2 and a half months have been nothing short of the craziest roller coaster that I have ever been on. Events I never thought would ever happen, happened and they were devastating. But as cliche as it sounds, I swear it to be true: everything happens for a reason. You can’t plan your life down to every detail, because you aren’t in control. I’ve learned more about myself in the last 2 months than I have in the last 26 years; what I am capable of, what I really want out of life and what I am meant to do with my time here.
When you’re young and when you get to college, a lot of your “drastic times” include losing your ID at the bar, missing your 8am class, mourning the text that never came from the guy you met at the same bar you lost your ID at. These are really big things when you’re 19 and 20. But truth is, they are so small in the comparison to what life really has in store for you. Everyone has to go through it though! I was so ashamed walking into that unemployment office; I’ve had a job since I was pet sitting at 12 years old! Reflecting back though, nothing that happened was punishment or a “failure” on my part. It was in fact, just plain life; it doesn’t show mercy and it doesn’t play favorites. In the famous words of Eric Matthews, “Life’s tough, get a helmet”.
Thank you for your patience and allowing me to share with you the struggles, and at one point humiliating time, in my journey into my mid-twenties. I hope that if you are feeling as if you can’t catch a break, you realize that it will get better. It will get better if you keep picking yourself up and moving forward. You don’t get to the next phase by waiting; life makes you work.
Until next time…and I promise it wont be 21 days from now.
xoxo – J