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English Muse: Loss & Life

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Loss & Life

Dominique Browning, the former editor of House & Garden, wrote so beautifully in today's New York Times Magazine about her struggle to rebuild her life after Conde Nast closed the magazine in 2007. I've read a lot of layoff stories since I lost my job at the Los Angeles Times in October, but Browning's captures the pain and devastation most eloquently.

She writes: "Just because something failed doesn't mean you're a failure. Just because something has ended doesn't mean it was all a mistake. Just because you've been rejected doesn't mean you're worthless and unlovable."

I know I've been talking a lot these days about my layoff. It's weighting especially heavy on my mind because -- like Browning -- we're selling our house to start anew. This is how it goes: first you lose the job and then you lose the life.

I'm not exactly sure how my new life is going to shake out. It will be different -- and maybe even better.

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Blogger Simply Mel said...

Just what I needed to read since we are going through similar changes...
thank you.

March 28, 2010 at 10:08 PM  
Blogger brittany barney said...

yes, it is a hard new change, and does change your entire life. but it happened to steve jobs too, the founder of apple when he was 30. ill actually do a post about it tomorrow to show you the whole story. and it was very inspiring and moving. he talks about how he got fired from apple, even though he was the one who started it! and then it ended up being the best thing that ever happened to him. because he went on and started pixar, and then met his wife and started a family and another company and then apple bought out his other company and invited him back etc... and how he and apple wouldn't be where they are today if all of that didn't happen. puts a whole new light on something you can see as a failure. or as a lack. but really it is something that can bless or strengthen your life if you allow it.
loves and best wishes to you at this difficult time

March 28, 2010 at 10:14 PM  
Blogger Lucy in the Sky said...

I wish you the best of parents were laid off years ago and if there was any sadness in their eyes, I couldn't see it (but this was before the recession). Stay optimistic! you still have plenty to offer :)

March 28, 2010 at 10:14 PM  
Blogger Mlle Paradis said...

it's difficult leaving a loved-home by choice, leaving under your circumstances is very understandlably painful. don't blame you at all for grieving. it's tough. this too will pass. for many people yes, when one door closes, another one opens. i hope this will be so for you! hopefully the hardest part is over. all best.

March 28, 2010 at 10:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. I recently found out that my position at my current job is being eliminated. It isn't a job I particularly like or saw myself in for a long time, but I can identify with the feelings of loss and the panic over "what happens next". I'm sill in the thick of it and this really gave me perspective and made me feel a little... calmer. Thank you Tina! I wish you all the best in the next stage of your Adventure!

March 28, 2010 at 10:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know so many people who can relate to what you're experiencing right now. In fact, my hubby & I were both laid off within the last two months. We don't know what's next either, but we're both using this time to really decide what our hearts truly want to pursue. I guess it's given us real freedom to go after what we love, & that's pretty swell.

Keep us (your readers) updated! I know our thoughts & prayers are with you.

March 28, 2010 at 10:45 PM  
Blogger La chica said...

Even better, I'm sure.

March 28, 2010 at 11:27 PM  
Blogger LouBoo said...

Your post was poignant to me...the loss of a house must feel like the loss of the lifestyle that goes with it and everything that underpins. I am sure once you get settled somewhere else it will even out and you will start to remember the house you lost with some fondness over time, rather than it just smarting as it does now. I hope it all works out. Keep your chin up... :-) x

March 29, 2010 at 12:42 AM  
Blogger WrightStuff said...

It certainly puts a new perspective on life and perhaps forces you to make those decisions that were always hanging about in the background... For me, getting laid off meant that I eventually (after 6 months in a job I hated) took to brave step of going self employed and I love it!

March 29, 2010 at 1:17 AM  
Blogger Erzulimojo said...

I'm so glad you referenced the Dominique Browning article. It was a beautiful rendering of all the feelings that come with loss. Focusing on what is great about your life -- your family (that extremely talented daughter!), the many people (known and cyberknown) who cherish you, and your immense talent -- will bring forward to a new and better life. Remember that your and Browning's former jobs are casualties of a major transformation in how humanity communicates: you both have transitioned beautifully to this new medium. I've left many homes in my life, both owned and rented. Embrace the change (as your posts indicate you have). The experience of adapting to a new place, a new view, a new topography is cathartic. I wish you all the best!

March 29, 2010 at 2:06 AM  
Blogger Kate Kelleher Blue Sky Butterfly Studio said...

Good luck in your new nest. Shake the water from your back and don't forget to sing. We all have a voice and yours is a beautiful one, so don't let this slow you down, let it make you shine.

March 29, 2010 at 3:51 AM  
Blogger See Hear Say said...

change is always hard indeed, but you're totally right you have to be optimistic and keep smiling, you never know it might be a change for the better! all the best with everything!

March 29, 2010 at 4:56 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Tina, you have so much to offer the world and you do it willingly and lovingly. Losing the job at the Times, while a stupid move on their part, is going to turn out to be one of the best things that ever happened to you, I can just feel it. Your mountain of talent, undeniable intelligence and wonderful disposition will help you ride the tide to the top.

There's a line in one of my favorite songs that says, "sometimes you got to lose to win," and I think you're gonna win. Bigtime.

March 29, 2010 at 5:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wishing you all the best and even better to come! still waiting for my new life to start! ♡

March 29, 2010 at 5:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I laid myself off before my company had a chance to lay me off. One month after I quit, they laid off 2/3 of the company. I moved back in with my mom right before signing a new lease, which would have been a financially devastating trap. And I started my tiny jewelry business on Etsy, which has grown slowly, and I just had my one hundredth sale. But for the first time in my life, I am not bored after 17 months at the same job, and I am not looking for a better opportunity, because I don't believe there is one. So yes, I think we can use these trying times to make our lives better. I am certainly not financially comfortable at this point, but we can all weather the tough times and appreciate success and stability even more when it returns.

March 29, 2010 at 5:37 AM  
Blogger Simply Luxurious said...

Hang in there. It sounds like you have been through an unimaginable time, but amazing things are waiting for you to discover. Have faith. =)

March 29, 2010 at 5:46 AM  
Blogger Carole said...

My mother used to say 'what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger'
We all hate change but it usually means that there is something better round the corner.
Keep your chin up. xoxo

March 29, 2010 at 6:03 AM  
Blogger kimberj said...

I know you'll do a better job of coming back from this devastating blow. I lost my health 21 years ago, then 15 years ago I was fired from a company after meeting all the goals they gave me. They decided to take all the business directly to corporate overseas after I spent 3 years setting up a thriving distribution network and getting them approvals & contracts at places like Boeing, McDonnell Douglas, TRW, along with 20 high gross margin medical accounts. I was used :( Then we accepted a transfer to a new city with my husbands job. New city, no friends, depression, and increasingly bad arthritis. I survived by making sure my kids transition was healthy & successful. I focused on them while finding my own life again. I'm not one of those mothers who dotes on Jimmy's every word and action. But I got them involved and was there when they needed me and in the background when they didn't. Now they are grown and realistic, fun, beautiful, dependable, & honorable. I'd like to think I had a hand in it :) Let Isabella be your inspiration but not your life. Her transition is as critical as yours so make it memorable and fabulous! I have no doubt you'll be fine. PS (everytime you feel "woe is me" give yourself 2 hours to grieve and that's it, it works)

March 29, 2010 at 7:03 AM  
Blogger Tea Party Crasher said...

Tina, thank you for sharing this. Last April, when the magazine I worked for was on the verge of folding, I accepted a one-year contract at another publication. Now that job is about to come to an end, and frankly, I'm terrified at the prospect of being unemployed. It's good to know that other people are going through the same thing, and while it doesn't take away the fear, there is some comfort in hearing these stories — especially the ones with happy (or at least hopeful) endings.

March 29, 2010 at 7:25 AM  
Blogger Valentina_s said...

the blog is very nice and interesting

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March 29, 2010 at 7:27 AM  
Blogger mkendall said...

This is such a hard time for everyone right now. My husband's position was just eliminated two weeks ago (he was given no warning that they were doing this.) So now we have a little over a month before his severence and health insurance stop.

He hated his job anyway, but the job market here is worse than the national average. I have to stay positive though. I truly believe everything happens for a reason.

March 29, 2010 at 7:34 AM  
Blogger Ashley Yazzie said...

I just want to say that I admire your courage. I'm glad that you are allowing yourself to be vulnerable, and show others what you are enduring. During chaotic economic times, many people are in your same shoes. As an actress, I understand perfectly the woes of rejection. It sucks. But it is never personal, it's just business. You will rise up again, and be amazed at the miracles you embarked on upon your path.

Warmest Regards,

March 29, 2010 at 7:39 AM  
Blogger jennifer said...

platitudes aside, we all move forward. there is no other way. you're fabulous, remind yourself often!!

March 29, 2010 at 7:49 AM  
Blogger Glimmer said...

I'm in tears now, thinking "yes, that is exactly it!" The balm of simple understanding can mean the world. Thank you for this gift.

March 29, 2010 at 8:35 AM  
Blogger Lina said...

I was laid off years ago, and I can tell you this, today the thoughts of the seemingly darker time don't ever enter my thoughts. Time and life will erase this for you. Remember this in your heart, if you keep visualizing what you want to make your life into in the future, you won't even remember to look back. Promise.

March 29, 2010 at 12:50 PM  
Blogger Therese said...

THANK you for your reference to the Dominique Browning article- THANK you for your open words about your feelings....-it's more than good to see that I'm not the only person going throuhgh all this destabilizations and self doubts when life situation is changing...THANK YOU! Best wishes for you from Berlin.

March 29, 2010 at 1:27 PM  
Blogger Tatiana said...

As life goes on loss certainly does seem to pile up. It's natural to analyze & share those thoughts & feelings but I believe that it's really important to start moving on. So I keep reminding myself not to dwell on the negative past (in a wounding recursive loop) but to enjoy the pleasure of the current moment and look forward to the wonderful possibilities of the future. Your future is going to be grand, Tina. Believe it!

March 29, 2010 at 6:09 PM  

I feel you darling, I do!
I remember a lovely quote that goes something like this;
"One day at a time is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone, & do not be troubled about future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so BEAUTIFUL that it will be worth remembering.”

now~much blessings to you*

March 29, 2010 at 6:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this story and being so open. It touched me deeply and I appreciate it. Good things will come.

March 29, 2010 at 6:24 PM  
Blogger Brandi said...

Tina, you so clearly have touched so many people with this story. I've been going through a lot of similar emotions lately and these words were what I needed to read as well. You really touched me. Thank you.

March 29, 2010 at 6:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm truly sorry for these sad times you're wading through. Nothing wrong with grieving now, in fact you should or it will catch up with you later. Get it out of the way so you'll be all ready for the next blessing. Also remember that you still have your deep creativity, and that is something that will make all the difference in your next job and your next home.

March 30, 2010 at 8:10 AM  
Blogger vanessa joie said...

What beautiful words. I'm wishing you the very, very best in all of the changes taking place.

March 30, 2010 at 8:55 PM  
Blogger denise, the prime magpie said...

It breaks my heart to hear how you had to let go of the home you loved so dearly. But at the same time, I hope you're finding whatever silver linings that still exist in the world at large. I feel surrounded by this energy of transition, which leaves me stymied in my own fear on some days, but then it's a strange sense of freedom on other days. I've been keeping up with your honest posts about the daily struggles with this crazy thing called life, and if nothing else, you give me hope that we are not alone in this struggle, and some new meaning will come out of it.

March 31, 2010 at 12:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been following your blog for awhile and admire your candor about your life, losing your job, and more. My father lost his job over a year ago and its been a difficult transition for our family, but everything turns out ok in the end. Everything happens for a reason, right?

And your home is truly lovely. Wherever you nest next will be just as amazing.

April 5, 2010 at 10:29 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

What an inspiring quote! Thank you for posting!

April 5, 2010 at 4:34 PM  
Blogger Long said...

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April 16, 2010 at 1:16 AM  

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