Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Bird flying free

   So. I had a big surprise in store for me on Monday, 3/2/15: Hallmark was laying me off after nearly 18 years. I had all the normal feelings of fear and "How could they do this... to ME?!" that I'm sure everyone experiences with an involuntary separation. That place has been my home for SO long; I worked extremely hard to do good for the company in every one of my jobs there. But I hitched my wagon to the wrong strategic star, the business took a hard left in the other direction... And honestly, I didn't agree with it. And ever since, everything is telling me that my departure is exactly the right thing. 
   It felt at first like a bomb had dropped on me, but that feeling dissipated faster than I ever could have imagined. The immediate outpouring of love and support from all of my colleagues and friends was absolutely astounding. I was flooded with emails, texts, calls, LinkedIn messages, Facebook posts, and yes, cards. Everyone empathized with my situation, and strongly encouraged me that something better is in store. They all said that they believe in me, perhaps even more strongly than I believe in myself. Never in my life could I have imagined that such a traumatic life event would end up feeling so amazing. In the face of this new challenge, my "family" sent me off feeling like I was on top of the world.
   That picture above is the pile of gifts and cards that I found waiting for me the next morning when I came to my desk to finish clearing out. A hand knit scarf from the insanely talented Azusa Omura. A ginormous bag of homemade biscotti from David H. A water bottle and candy from Lonnie R. An incredible handmade necklace from Amy C. Cards from more people than I could count. (You should have heard people gushing about this scarf when I wore it in Breckenridge!)
   This is the geode friendship necklace made by my bestie, Amy. She wears the other half. (You can find her work on Etsy @Applescraps.) Wow.
   And then, a few days later, even more showed up. Cards and gourmet chocolate brownies in the mail from my college friend Jill S. Illustrated badges (which looks suspiciously like my pets—a Shiba, a fox, and a kitty) from Flora. Chocolate covered sunflower seeds from Crista C (we worked on Easter together, hence the carrot). And a lovely art collage by one of my very closest and most dearly-loved friends, Gretchen. The little enamel plaque has a 17, which is the actual anniversary that I achieved with the company. And the quote at the top of the birdcage says, "Inside us all, patiently waiting, sits a small, adventurous bird."
   And after all the friendship I have felt in the past week, I can tell you honestly that this bird is ready to fly! SO, SO EXCITED to see where my next adventure will be! And grateful to also have this paid time off to plan for some fun, too. My list is growing by the minute, there is so much that I'd love to do with my time!!! :)