|The Cottage, spiffed up, with a For Sale sign out front.|
When I was twenty-two, I was asked to resign from a job for which I had been hired six months previously. I worked for a small financial consulting firm as the marketing director. Someone with two more years of experience than I had, a person with male genitalia and a healthy love of the Celtics was recruited for my job. I was so informed on a Friday morning. I rode my bicycle the six miles to work that day and was stuck with riding it home later that morning with tears obscuring my vision; I was crying so hard that my shirt was wet when I arrived home. It was mid-day and I was not clear what I should do with the unexpected hiatus in my day. I did what often brings me solace. I ironed. I found everything I could iron, plus a few sets of sheets for extra measure. After close to two hours of ironing in my one bedroom apartment, I cleaned for three hours. Finally, it was the end of what would have been a normal work day. I learned several things about myself as a result of having been fired. When I am unduly stressed, I am relieved by doing work. Ironing is particularly soothing, a close second is weeding, followed by painting. I learned that people are not always honorable. And most importantly, I learned that I will survive. Under all circumstances, except one, I will survive. As it turned out, the head of a different division within the company called to offer me a job over the weekend.
Today, I found myself doing extreme painting and weeding. The precipitating factor was not definitive, but something was not aligned, and I was working it through. So I sanded, raked, brushed, snipped, clipped and dug. The sun has set and I am bone-weary. Sleep is overtaking me and, as it claims me, a smile settles on my face. I reflect on the satisfaction that my work mattered. The Cottage feels lighter, brighter and more fit for my state of mind.