Thursday, January 29, 2009

Recession Becomes Reality

Until I was laid off, The Recession felt like a cautionary story I kept hearing about.

The 11 o'clock news segments, magazines, and my frugal father were all warning me to save my money because the recession, much like the Nothing in the Neverending Story, was taking over the world and making things disappear.

So I became a thrifty consumer - trading Starbucks for free office Flavia, packing cheap lunches instead of buying 4 pieces of sushi for $10, not purchasing the same American Apparel tank top in yet another color because the cut really flatters my shoulders...

Then the Recession devoured my job (along with 21,137 +) and what I heard about on the news became my reality. It all just suddenly became real. There is no other way to put it. I was one of those people on TV walking out of the office with a box full of photos, files and cleverly hidden staplers.

Spared co-workers either couldn't look me in the face when they saw the folder holding the details of my severance package or they awkwardly sat by my desk as I packed - each one telling me the same things. What they said was "Everything happens for a reason... you'll find a new job in no time..." what they meant was, "I'm so glad it wasn't me... better pack my lunch tomorrow just in case."

I kept a brave face, but of course I broke down when I left the office, hysterically crying to my 91 year old grandparents who managed to survive the Great Depression. They gave me sound advice, "Quit crying, you'll survive."

So, rather than sink into the Swamp of Sadness, I picked myself up and dusted myself off. I looked at what was out there job wise for a reality show casting producer (nothing, there is nothing) and got in touch with old contacts I would love to work with again. My trip I had planned pre-layoff was exactly a month away, so I decided to have a NYC staycation in the meantime and finally did all the things I always said I would do in the city (like seeing plays, visiting museums and taking epic bike rides to Coney Island).

Atreyu and Falcor are currently unavailable to rescue me (and no, I don't think Obama will fix the situation of the economy anytime soon, but I'm certainly pulling for him to do so!). However, my trip to Costa Rica - especially the part where I explored the country on my own- made me realize what I am capable of and what other lifestyles exist in the world. I can save myself. I don't have to follow the career and life path I set out upon the day I packed my bags in 2001 and gave NYC a try. I'm taking a swim in the Sea of Possibilities - strongly considering a stay in Latin America to teach kids English and learn how to surf. Maybe even cast a Telenovela?

Yes, I was drinking absinthe before I wrote this, but to sum this blog all up - Fantasia is my new reality. I'm learning about the hopes and dreams of myself and those around me. Because hope and dreams have no boundaries, neither will my life. In the Neverending Story, The Nothing was the by-product of human indifference and despair, destroying the positivity and goals of mankind. I refuse to let it get me.