I lost my job last week.
Ferdinand doesn’t care. He’s still snoring away on my desk while I type this.
I haven’t been able to get an interview yet for a teaching job and I’m panicked. Ferdinand doesn’t care. He’s clearly dreaming now – all twitchy and cute.
I have to create an entirely new schedule for myself, having always operated around my work priorities and fitting it all in. Ferdinand doesn’t care. He’s just going to stretch and get as looooooooooooooooooooooooooooong as possible across my keyboard before continuing his comfy slumber.
Doesn’t it put it all in perspective? My cat could give two shits about how I have always had a job and I now feel adrift and anxious while I hunt for a job in my newly-chosen career. All Ferdinand cares about is that I keep him company while he naps on my pile of to do lists, student work, copies of Hamlet, and unopened mail.
He reminds me that I am not my job. I am his person, and goddammit that’s much more important. My most important roles are: The Opener of the Cans; The One Who Comforts Me When I’m Scared; The One Who Snuggles Me; The Person Whose Pillow I Sleep On; among others. My worth is determined in my softness and warmth. Do I pet him enough? The answer is probably that I could never pet him enough, but so far he’s given me five-star reviews.
As a recovering perfectionist, being laid off was pretty catastrophic, even if I had been planning to leave that job in a few months. It hit my self-worth and I was scared about the future. I sobbed when I got off the phone with my former boss and HR. How much more change can a woman take? How much more pressure can I endure? You know who doesn’t care? Ferdinand. He just wants company while he’s peacefully dreaming.
I’ll figure things out. It’s not the end of the world (yet). I have amazing support from my family and friends. I think I’m slowly heading toward the silver lining that is the first *real* break in my adult life. The Summer of Katie (to borrow from a friend). Everyone who has ever been in a similar situation has told me that their period of unemployment was one of the best things that ever happened to them – that it allowed them to reconsider their priorities and spend some time on important internal work.
And well, there’s always Ferdinand.