Shocked by her question, I began to laugh. "Clearly you understand this," I answered.
"Yeah, I was in a meeting. Thinking 'what the fuck? why is he calling?'"
"Grey at least caught me during a down moment. Still, I'm so scared. I don't know how we're going to survive this."
"I know," she said. "But you will be okay. And better things are coming."
The last 48 hrs have been spent dealing with the shock and anxiety from Friday. We've been replaying all that happened and the reality is there was nothing Grey did that we are aware of that caused this unexpected decision. Still, it's a blow that we were unprepared for.
That said, there's also been a sense of relief. Grey has struggled with this position as it was far from a good fit. I can't get into specifics about this, as this isn't my story to tell, but over the last few months I've watched my husband drop into a deep depression working his butt off for something he didn't believe in. And it caused so much tension as I am now in a position where I can move ahead while he was feeling left behind.
In the last 48 hrs, I've been watching Grey transform back to his old self. Fueled by the outpouring of support we've received from family and friends (and thank you isn't enough for all of you who left comments or reached out), he's begun warming up his contacts and polishing his resume. Watching him pour through job postings, he's found two separate positions he was initially considered for before he took this past position, told he was a leading candidate for both. And we're seeing more options that he either fits to a T or is fairly close. In short, there's hope for something very good to come out of this.
People keep asking me how I'm doing with all of this. Honestly, it's mixed. One moment I'm filled with anxiety, wondering how the hell I'm going to support a family of four on a postdoc salary. Yes, there's resources we can tap and there's some movement coming down the pipeline to resolve our situation with our condo, but there's still a lot of balls in the air.
But then there's those moments where I remember what brought us here to begin with. The fact that job security is becoming more of an illusion in this country. Over the last year, I've heard stories from many physicians talking about forced pay-cuts they've had to endure. I've heard from friends from undergrad who are still reeling from anti-union laws that put their jobs as teachers in jeopardy. I've watched academia shrink more and more, with professors spending most of their time fighting for grant money or managing administrative duties instead of pursuing the research that they love. In short, there is no more "safety" in employment. Just like there isn't in life.
Last fall, just before our cross-country move, I found myself rereading Steve Jobs's commencement address in 2005. Titled "You've got to find what you love," Jobs makes a strong argument for why it's important to take the risk and pursue ideas or dreams that make you want to get out of bed in the morning. Over the past couple of days, I've been thinking about Jobs's speech, particularly this part:
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.48 hours later, I truly do feel naked. Exposed and with no safety net. It's terrifying. But it also means that there's nothing holding us back.
Grey is charging full steam ahead. And I'm working on being more than brave; I'm working on changing my heart too. All while cheering him on.
48 hours later, we're not okay. But we're better than we were.