When the universe says jump, you a) hesitate, b) stumble, c) stand still and wait for it to tell you why, or d) fucking jump.
My friend and I were abruptly fired from jobs we disliked with different companies at the same time on the same day. Yesterday, around 10:30 a.m., to be precise. We talked last night over celebratory beers, he, I, and Antoinette, sitting at a long wooden table in the local charmer of a microbrewery/pub a few freezing blocks from home. We talked of being youthful—not in the sense of retrieving some idealized and long-lost youth but following simple, natural openness and curiosity rather than adhering stickily to adultish controllingness, supposed tos, and should bes. We talked of timing and of packing up and (finally) going west and the gift we’d both just that morning been given.
I actually enjoyed my job for about four months, from August to December of last year, after two years hating nearly every minute of my previous one, with the company that just released my friend into the wild. But things had been rough since December, culminating (finally) in my unceremonious discharge. My friend said he felt free. I said I felt relief. Deep, encompassing relief. My now-former boss said it wasn’t due to my performance or personality. I said I know. A job is just a thing I can do. For a while.
Later last night, back at home, sitting on the edge of the bed for a while, thinking was a thing I could do. As I sat I imagined the inside of my skull as the starry firmament and felt what I can only refer to as peaceful. Not instead of everything else I felt, but along with it. Thick, tangled underbrush had been creeping up the hill toward me from the edges of the forest of thoughts below, but yesterday it ignited and burned and I watched wisps of smoke waft into the starry night sky and the last glowing embers fade. Anxious, excited, afraid, at peace. Everything is just as it should be, I said to Antoinette. She said that’s right. We knew what was coming, and now we know something else is. Jump.