Happy 10 years of freedom anniversary to me!
Monday morning. You get to the office, head to the coffee-machine, pour yourself a cup and sit a your desk. You turn your laptop on, check emails. Another Monday. Same walls. Same conversations. Same people. 10 years ago, that was my life too. Until I was offered the best gift of all: I was given freedom.
It was certainly not easy. One morning, I got called in the H.R. office where I was explained that I didn’t fit anymore with the company. It was time for me to go. First I got angry. I had been suffering at this job for months now. I was highly unhappy, often felt belittled, had zero respect for the company’s CEO and I grinned my teeth, day after day, week after week. For what? A manager title? Security? A green card? My parents approval? A high ranking on society’s success scale? I was trapped in a place where I didn’t belong but still, when they let me go, I got angry.
I had skipped the denial & isolation stage and moved straight to anger. But I had to go through all the other stages of grief before I was able to move on:
Bargaining: « If only I had been a better employee. If only I had smiled more. If only I had kissed this CEO’s ass instead of telling him his truth. »
Depression: « I’m going to be sent back to France. It’s all over. My life is over. I’m a loser. »
And finally, acceptance. This was only the end of a chapter and I was ready to move on to the next phase of my life. I finally realized I had been given the gift of freedom. I had been offered the opportunity to reinvent my life. From that moment, it was not a scary unknown I was facing. It was a great blank canvas where I could express my creativity.
A few month later, I had sold my beloved Mustang, and I had incorporated my first business. It was March of 2008. Since, I left my fancy Rittenhouse Square apartment to move-in with a friend, I took a side job as a dance instructor, I fulfilled a childhood dream and became a movie critic for a while, I sat on the board of a business association, I found out that I have a knack for teaching and a true passion for entrepreneurship. Eventually, several years later, I moved back to France and started my second business.
But, more than anything, I lived my life. I didn’t sit on the sideline waiting for it to happen to me. From that moment on, I was in charge. Good and bad, it was on me. And that, to me, is the definition of freedom.
Photo by Ben Rosett