For a while, I had recurring dreams about tornadoes. Usually, there were herds of tornadoes coming toward me. Is there a group term for tornadoes? I like herd. It felt like a stampede in the dreams.
These went on for about 6 months or a year. Not every night, but consistent. In one dream, an unearthly sized tornado picked up my childhood home. My entire family was inside, including me. At first, there was a lot of rocking back and forth, and then suddenly, everything was still and quiet.
We were all sort of floating within the space of the house. It had a feeling of weightlessness. Similar to being in space, I assume. It was strangely peaceful although I was thinking we were probably all going to die. It was silent. No one spoke. We just looked at one another as if in some way to say goodbye. Strange feeling. I still recall it although it’s been a few years ago since I had the dreams.
At the end of the dream, my dad disappeared from inside the house. I don’t know what happened or where he went, but I looked around he was gone. The rest of us were still there in the house in the eye of the storm.
That’s all I remember about that particular tornado dream. It stuck with me, though. I suppose because a year or two later (I can’t recall exactly when I had these dreams), my dad passed away.
I probably wouldn’t have thought there was any tie to my dad’s passing and the dream had I not had another set of recurring dreams just before cat passed away, which happened just a few months before my dad’s passing. The year leading up to my cat’s death, I had recurring dreams that he kept getting under the house (a house, not always mine) and getting lost. He always found a litter of kittens in every dream, but one. The last dream, he didn’t run away or get lost. He spoke to me in that dream. He was unfriendly in that dream, like he didn’t feel well or was upset with me. At the end, he told me I cared only about him until Charlie came along.
I didn’t know who Charlie was even in the dream. Charlie didn’t exist in my life in that dream. Charlie was someone I was going to meet later. In fact, I was going to the back of this extremely ‘70s beach house to meet Charlie. I woke up as I walked into the room where Charlie was supposed to be … somewhere in the future room.
My cat passed away soon after that. So, recurring dreams are not usually good signs for me. I’m not saying I predict the death of loved ones, it’s just maybe some trigger in my brain knew that day was coming someday.
I digress talking about my dreams, though. The point of bringing up the tornado dream with my dad was that feeling when the house was lifted into the tornado and we were just floating. Anticipating the future, not knowing what’s going to happen. How bad it’s going to be or if we’re all just really lucky? Except for my dad, who disappeared.
That feeling is the feeling I’m having with my life right now. It’s not a bad feeling, but uncertain. Trying to remain calm in the uncertainty.
The beauty of being laid off from my job is that it has given me the opportunity to reflect on life more than I do when I’m working. I know I want to make changes in my life. I am working toward those, but I’m not sure if any of them are right. It’s not bad or good, just uncertain.
The other uncertainty is how much change can I make at once? Can I go all out and change my entire life? Or do I find a bit more stability in a job that fits my experience and training and then make small changes. I have tried that a few times in the past with not a lot of success. That’s why I feel pressure, within myself, to make bigger changes while I have the opportunity.
Income is such a pain in the ass, isn’t it? If it wasn’t for needing to pay the bills, all of these decisions would be so much easier. I have no fear of trying something new or going down a different path. I fear not being able to make ends meet. That wouldn’t be a fear if I could find part-time work. It’s not happening, though.
Is it failure if you can’t make all the changes you want to make at one time? Does it matter if it’s failure? Failure isn’t a bad thing.
I’ve never failed. At anything. Ever. I mean, I’m a terrible public speaker. Anything I set out to do, I did. And, if I say so myself, I did it pretty well most of the time. I’ve always received good reviews. Positive feedback.
Until this last job. I received good reviews. Raises. After my third boss in three years, though, I was told I couldn’t write. That was my job. It’s been my job my entire career. Then I was laid off with several other people, but the rub of it was still there.
it shattered my entire being. Normally, in the past, I would have taken that in stride and kept going. But, I had already been looking for a change in my life. I wasn’t happy with my work. I knew I needed to change. I don’t know. I tripped.
It’s funny when I think about it. Never really failing. Never getting laid off. It’s not from staying in the safe zone. I’ve changed careers. I’ve changed jobs (fairly frequently the last few years). I changed majors six times in college. I’ve tried so many new things. Gone to countries where I didn’t speak the language and still had a good time.
But I never failed. Then I did. Now I know I want to make changes, but I can’t quite figure out what the changes should be. How far out there should I go? Do I take a small step and try to be a creative writer and get a part-time job? Do I go all out and change everything? Go back to school or learn a new skill? But then how do I pay the bills?
The eye of the tornado. It’s not the same feeling as the spiral of the spiritual journey. Well, it is, I suppose but at 180 miles an hour instead of a slow pace.
Dealing with your first failure while trying to change your life is a bit of a challenge? You have to overcome the insecurities that being laid off gives you while convincing yourself you can do anything you want. Plus, it doesn’t hurt when you don’t know what exactly it is you want. I go from being a life coach/health coach/nutritionist to therapist, to musician, novelist, poet, herbalist, pilates/yoga instructor and more. The other day I tried to determine if there was anything close to being a professional student? I haven’t identified such a career yet.
Each day passes without income and I can’t determine how to move forward. I realize I need to just devise a plan and stick with it. As soon as I do, though, I’m not sure if it is the right way to go and I change gears. Eventually, I will run out of time, unemployment benefits.
At the same time, I see all the opportunities available to me. I can go in any direction I want. That gives me joy. That peace I felt in the dream. The calm in the center of the tornado.
Given, I spent the first three months of my unemployment incessantly looking for new jobs instead of moving in a new direction. Well, besides the pilates certification. I wasted some time, but that’s what you do when you’re laid off. Looking for a job is your full-time job, or so they tell you.
How do you take risks? Big risks? I take small ones. Calculated ones. Big risks scare me. Is it even that big of a risk to go down a different path? Not really. Not if you can find income. Maybe I do Uber or Lyft for a while. Make a little money try to do something else.
I don’t know. I would love to hear if others have thoughts on this? If anyone else has gone through this and what did they do? Did you change or stay on your regular path?
What is the point of this post? To learn from others. It’s for me. It’s selfish in that sense. And to let others know it’s OK to question your life. To question if you’re heading in the right direction or if you should jump on a different path. And, since I know some many folks who have recently been laid off, you’re not alone. We all deal with these same questions and being laid off does suck in some ways and is very good in other ways.
I read a book a while back called Guitarlo by Arlo Hennings. It is an entire book of going through these tornado phases. He always followed his heart, though, and the doors always opened. It’s rather inspiring story if you ask me.
My problem is finding what’s in my heart. I can’t seem to nail that down. Again, if others have suggestions on how to identify what’s in your heart, finding who you really are and why you are here, I’d love to hear about it. Or do you just do what you love and not care about purpose so much? That has always been a stumbling block for me.
And if you don’t comment here, that’s fine. But if you know someone going through this process. Whether they are laid off or not, but especially if they are laid off, reach out to them. Let them know what you think they are good at, what their good qualities are. That’s what I’ve been seeking without an answer. That’s the difficult part for me. I know it’s supposed to all come from within, but hearing something from without helps. It just does. It confirms something you already knew or it opens up a line of thinking you had never considered before.
If you do that, it may help them to make that decision. To make the big leap … or take the small leap. Either way, it’s good. It’s helpful. Either way, their house gets placed gently back down on the ground when the tornado passes.