Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sudden Life Upheaval

Two days ago I posted, "Living out of my comfort zone is the most comfortable place to be" on Facebook, not realising it would apply to me so intimately in less than 24 hours time. Did I bring this on? Was I too comfortable here in Germany? A valid question, regardless of the cascade of following events. I was comfortable, maybe too comfortable.
It was a hopeful start yesterday, waking at 5:30, rested. These days I rise earlier and earlier with the sun, and don't mind because the idea that the days are getting longer makes me so happy. I headed into town early and thought I'd stop at the gas station, but it wasn't open 'til 7:00, so instead I had an espresso and wrote in my journal. After coffee, I filled my tank, picked up some Euros, and was still running early, so I stopped at the grocery store for Pink Lady apples, and headed to post. Still early yet, (no, my body wasn't taken over by an alien form-- I know, I'm never this early, really, it's insane, but I'll go on) I washed my car before work, and decided to stop at the auto shop and see if they could do an oil change. They put me on standby and I walked to work.
I opened my inbox to more good news. "As a frequent reader of, you've demonstrated an uncommon interest in a wide variety of today's most important topics. This makes you anything but average. In fact, it can't help but make you "smarter" — just the kind of person we want to engage." And offered me a free digital subscription for the remainder of 2011. (I was suspicious of a scam, but it wasn't.) Recently the NYT decided to charge for unlimited access, and I was on the fence about signing up. It's a small thing, but I felt happy.
The morning patient load was one of the busiest yet. At lunch I went for a walk in the springtime sun.
2:27PM: Abrupt halt to previously comfortable day...
I open an email stating the US Army in Bavaria "does not require services under our contract ... Please consider this as notice of the end of your employment... 25 May 2011, your last day of employment under the contract". Mini panic attack ensues. Fortunately there were only two more patients to go since I'd turned into a saucer-eyed space cadet.
There's a number of emotions you go through when you suddenly find out that you won't be working in two months' time. Shock. Anger. Disbelief. Fear. Excitement. I've always preached the sermon of instability, uncertainty and life change, and now I was being tested in my beliefs.
After work, I stopped to pick up my car, and they were all gushing how they loved Mini Coopers, and especially mine in bright aqua. I couldn't pay attention. I wanted to say, "I lost my job!" But I smiled in my daze and drove home slowly.
Thinking the best thing (plus it was on the schedule for the day anyway) would be to run through the fields, I laced up and donned my orange t-shirt. Anytime life is confusing, running fixes a lot, or at least wears me out and lets my mind wander, sorting through things and dropping them in to place like a Connect-Four game.
By the time the run was over, I'd thought:
I can go home. My family. My friends. Portland. Portland will always be my home. It was a funny thought. I don't mean to move there. Just to visit. To drive my car up to Carrie's matching car. Wander through the neighborhoods. I can visit Molly and my new niece to be in Iowa, maybe in September! I can take some time off. I'm an astute; I'll find another job. I don't need the money. I can travel. 
So, 24 hours after the email, I don't know really what's going to happen. I've heard lots of things. Maybe I'll be flying to Macedonia come and spend the summer slowly working my way up through Eastern Europe on public transport. Maybe I'll be offered a different position in Germany. Maybe I'll move back to the states.
There's things to sort out, but if I'm patient and open, they'll fall into place. It's too early to make decisions, and not all the information is available. I agree with President Obama: "No sudden moves." 
I believe in following openings, and letting life lead the way, but I also believe in educated and calm decisions. There's a comfort, too, in adaption and change, as well as in stability.

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