Through no fault of my own, I lost one of my jobs yesterday. I know, I know everybody says it’s not their fault, but this really isn’t. I am a self-employed house cleaner, so my job is dependent on my clients. Unfortunately, one of my clients lost their job, so I did too. In my past, upon hearing this I would have immediately become anxious, but yesterday was different. Yesterday I found myself more concerned about my client’s future than mine. Let me elaborate. I work for 5 clients, so although I lost one house cleaning, I still have a job. My client does not have this luxury.
The really strange thing about this loss was the reaction that my client and I had upon receiving this news. Neither one of us displayed anger or other negative emotions associated with unexpected life events. This is not to say that neither of us are anxious about what the future will bring, but it is not the overwhelming, destructive kind of anxiety. More just anxious curiosity about where this new adventure will lead. My client is planning to open a business, and will soon be self-employed. We discussed how risky this is, more for my client than me obviously, but we agreed that often in life we need to take risks, or we will never know if things might have turned out differently.
Often when one door slams shut, another one opens. Waiting in the hall for the other door to open is anxiety provoking, but if we rush headfirst through the wrong door, we are no better off than we were. It likely would have been very easy for my client to accept a job offer, so that a paycheck is received regularly, while denying the desire to be self-employed. This may have worked for a time, but eventually would have resulted in job dissatisfaction. In order to be true to ourselves we must take risks and be satisfied with whatever the end result is. Even if the risk does not produce the desired results we must not view that as personal failure, but rather personal growth from being willing to take the risk. No one ever said life would be without risks.
This ability to not be extremely anxious is quite new to me. I have suffered from anxiety for years; it was one of the accepted emotions that I witnessed frequently in my family of origin. So why the new outlook? I suppose I have finally realized that I have choices in my reactions. I can freak out, or I can NOT. I am now choosing to NOT when it is something that is well out of my control. This makes for a much more pleasant life, and much less negativity as I wait in the hall for the next door to open.
As for my client and I, who knows where our next doors will lead, but we will walk through them feeling true to ourselves and with a bit of healthy anxiety and curiosity. I will be always grateful to all my clients, as they have been instrumental in getting me through my grad program. I want this client to know I will miss our occasional phone calls the most. This client always told me how much my work I were appreciated. I always felt uplifted, supported, and valued following these calls. Thank you my dear friend. I will miss you and I wish you all the best.