Anyone who says they’re completely prepared for a “rainy day” is either oblivious or completely full of shit. Sure, you might be ready for a drizzle of affliction, maybe a light rainstorm, but when that fucking hurricane makes landfall, and you lose pretty much everything at once, what do you do?
It’s a common stereotype that Jewish people always believe the sky is constantly about to fall on them, 24/7. Then there’s that old wives tale that bad news comes in threes. It’s what we’d call a bubbameister, which in Yiddish literally translates to “grandma story,” or old wives tale. A superstition. Don’t get me started on Jewish superstitions, honestly. I could fill an entire fucking article with the insanity my parents and grandparents fed me while raising me like a veal. If I had a shekel for every time someone in my family made some reference to Hitler coming back, I’d be the richest man in Tel Aviv.
Regardless: Jewish people are always waiting for the other shoe to drop. And it actually did.
A year ago, I was in a happy relationship, living with my significant other in an awesome apartment in the city. I had job satisfaction. Okay. “Satisfaction” is a strong word. I was content, and my salary and benefits weren’t going anywhere. That’s enough, right? I was enjoying writing for PGP, made close friendships with some of the other writers, had an active social life in the city. I was finally living the life that I dreamed of; I was working like a dog to afford rent and bills, but I had an apartment I loved, work I was proud of, and a social life/routine I was really loving.
But like all good things, it wouldn’t last.
Around this time last year, the girl I was dating and living with lost someone very, very close to her, and it really changed everything for her and, by extension, us. I can certainly get into the specifics, but instead of this tragic event bringing us together and making us stronger, it was the end of us. In trying my best to hold it all together, it all fell apart.
That kind of set off a chain of events right after my birthday in October that made the “Bad News Comes in Threes” superstition look like a walk in the park.
I ended up losing my job security with the announcement that my boss was going to retire. Everything started feeling like it had a shotclock, a timer, a ticking time-bomb that would blow up the stability I’d worked hard for. Things got weird at my office after all that happened. I ended up being the only person in my entire department. I ended up running my office for about a month or so, taking on a bunch of tasks by myself that I’d normally have had help on, but all came down to me. There was also the surprise news that I might have to relocate to an entirely new city I’ve never been before, with very little explanation. And that’s the tip of the iceberg on the weirdness there.
The anxiety was crushing. All of this, coupled with the incredibly ugly deterioration of my relationship and living situation and personal loss, combined to make my life a living hell.
And yet, I didn’t miss a day of work. Even when I had a family member die. Yes, in this exact same time period.
In the end, I have so much to be grateful for. I have my health (knock wood – See? Another superstition!), my family, savings, and people that care about me. The fact that this weirdness at work led to something even better? That was a huge boon.
But there was a point where I was facing losing my apartment, my relationship, and my job all at the same time, with no idea where I’d be in a year, six months, even two months. Now THAT was one shitty Christmas, let me tell you. Even shittier than a normal Jewish Christmas. I couldn’t even get out of bed for Chinese Food and a movie. And yes, we really do that. I guess there’s some truth to most stereotypes.
There is absolutely no course in college or training that can prepare you for when life knocks you down, then kicks you in the balls repeatedly until you’re coughing up blood. Nothing can compare to that level of anxiety, fear, doubt and uncertainty. Like you’re gonna fall right off the edge of the fucking planet.
How do you get yourself out of it? As cliche as it sounds, you put one foot in front of the other. You pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep going. But that’s a story for another day..
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