It’s probably no secret that as of this writing, my job is in limbo. Every two years, the legislature meets and like the election of the pope, everyone anxiously awaits for the smoke to rise from the chimney to see that we have a new state budget.
In this particular budget, my department is singled out, and not in a good way. The entire state economic development budget is on the chopping block. It’s only in the Senate budget at the moment, so things can change. The usual rule of thumb is that if you’re in two out of three budgets, you’re safe. Our group was in the House and Governor’s budget, so depending on what happens with the whole funding education thing, we may end up being safe – for now!
As you can imagine, this can cause a lot of angst. Unlike the private sector where everything happens behind closed doors, our budget plays out in a pretty public way. It’s a little unnerving.
It’s a little unnerving. Still! You see, I’ve been through this before. Back in the day, I worked at Egghead Software. It was and is my favorite place to have ever worked. Every day, it was a joyful experience, such high functioning people working there.
You see, I’ve been through this before. Back in the day I worked at Egghead Software. It was and is my favorite place to have ever worked. I’ve never worked anywhere where people so looked forward to coming to work every day.
That was, until that quarterly board meeting in late August. I knew there was trouble when Paul Allen double parked his yellow Lamborghini in front of the office. The closed-door session went on for some time. The next day, my co-workers were called into that same boardroom one at a time. I saw Heidi, then Tamese, emerge in tears. I knew I was next.
The company had had a couple of bad quarters and had to make some cutbacks. The Public Relations Department was part of that cutback. I did the walk of shame back to the office, collected my things, forgot to get my lunch in the fridge and walked out to the car, final check in hand.
It was then that I started CommuniCreations. I didn’t want to do the walk of shame again or let someone else decide my fate.
Boy, do I have a short memory. This time around, of course, we get to know our possible fate. It appears in the state budget which is a public document. The whole cuts thing doesn’t reflect our work; it’s just politics.
Suffice it to say, I had flashbacks to that day at Egghead and the walk of shame. For the past couple of weeks, I went into a lovely circle of doom and gloom, wondering how I would pay for the house, our bills – you know, the usual stuff one wonders about the future that is uncertain.
It was then that Kat jerked me back into the real world. To be fair, I was making her a bit nuts with my circling. After all, no one knows what the future holds. We don’t even know what the next minute holds for us let alone the next month or next year.
“So when are you scheduled for chemo?” came the question.
“What? I don’t have cancer,” I said, very confused.
“You aren’t unemployed yet, either. You’re making plans based on what might happen, not what’s happening. d, It’s like you’ve already decided the future on your own and come hell or high water, it’s going to come to pass.”
I stopped dead in my tracks. She was right. I was skipping down the road like I was planning to have a deadly disease or some other disaster, deciding on a future I had no way of seeing.
Needless to say, I’m not freaking out anymore. I have stepped back into the one place that I do have control over – this moment. O.K., this moment. No, this one. You get the point.
I can’t change the past, I can’t influence the future. The only thing I have control over is this moment, right now. Everything else going forward is unknowable, just as everything in the past is unchangeable.
Yes, I have done some basic planning for the eventuality. It’s plain stupid not to do the planning just in case. As I always like to tell others, you don’t have to know how to fight a fire. But you do need to know where the fire extinguishers are.
I have them in place now. And now that I do, I can return to the beauty of a moment. I am completely in the present, with a storyteller’s view of the past and a wide-eyed child’s wonder of the future.
I wish all of us could find that place. That moment when we are just here. There’s nothing to really worry about because quite truthfully, there are endless possibilities out there. Sure, we can worry ourselves to death about those famous forks waiting for us on the road just around the bend. But really? What is the point? Often, we don’t even know what the real choices are. We just have the ones we make up in our head.
As I’ve come to find out in my own head, those doom and gloom scenarios about what lies just around the corner can become your biggest enemy. I would way that 95% of everything I believed would happen down the road never did. But man, I spent a lot of time being consumed by it.
A lot of wasted time on nothing. Worse, I missed enjoying the moment I was in, worrying about a moment somewhere down the line that I could neither predict, see or act upon.
I guess that’s what happens as you grow older. You learn not to fear the future nor live in the past. You come to appreciate that moment that is right now, ever so fleeting, ever so fragile.
Because really, it’s all we get when you think about it. That in itself can be a very freeing realization because you actually get to let go of all the bullshit you find yourself mired in.
So world, bring it on. It’ll be easy to find me. I’m in the moment. Now this one. No…
In the Emerald City, giving it all to the God Jar,