I was walking near Lincoln Center about a week after I got fired. The weather was glorious and I felt like every breath I took brought me higher and higher. I wanted to hug everyone harder and harder. I had a glow. I was in love with every morsel of life and I finally had time to taste every bite.
My six-year-old son and I were skipping down the Upper West Side when I noticed a familiar face walking beside me. It was Mr. G, a seasoned weatherman (couldn’t resist the pun). I don’t watch the weather, but I recognized him because we worked in the same building – the Superman Building. He noticed me on this day as he had noticed me on other days in our lobby over the years. He gave me his standard smirk and partial elevator eyes.
“I know you,” I blurted out. I don’t know what came over me. It drugged me, this newly found euphoria. “You used to work in my building.” I added. “But I don’t work there anymore. They fired me last week. Just like that. Can you believe it? Fifteen minutes of bullshit and I get back to my desk to find my computer and phone disconnected. My ID card disarmed.”
I’m not sure why I felt compelled to tell this weatherman my story. It seemed I needed to tell anyone who would listen.
“I like your energy,” he said. “I think you’ll be fine. Besides,” he said, pointing to my son, “he looks like he could take care of you.”
“I’m great!” I smiled and my son and I continued on our way. My street therapy led me to a happy realization. In exchange for a paycheck, I was given the magnificent gift of time – my time. I was entitled and I was bestowed.
Finally, I wasn’t in a hurry. (And in New York City – that alone is a feat.) Finally, I didn’t feel like a sand granule falling down an hourglass – struggling with, for, and against time. I found time to be kinder and I let people go in front of me on the bus. I didn’t care if someone was late; I didn’t mind waiting for the subway. I smiled brighter.
I grew more patient – with my son, my friends, strangers. Nothing seemed to bother me, but while I basked in every second of this bliss, I knew it was fleeting. This sensation had its own hourglass. Nothing lasted forever. I knew eventually I’d get anxious. I knew the Reality Sprite would show his ugly face and steal my exaggerated grin. Everything would balance out.
I didn’t realize that I had to cut a piece away to make me feel more whole.