Me, phœnix?

May 7, 2024

"You're a phoenix; you'll be reborn as always," a friend writes.

It's been a month since I lost my job. That's both a lot and a little. Time is a brittle matter relative to who knows what cycle. Sometimes, it is a reified mathematical fact, and sometimes, a dream instantly consigned to the obsolete dungeons of one's personality.

These four weeks are a small chunk of time. Just enough to rationalize expenses, receive a meagre unemployment benefit, meet with a financial advisor who tells me to find a job quickly and tells me that I won't be able to retire until I'm 70, and meet a few friends and control my disappointment at having served people all these years whom I thought were made differently and whom I can neither name nor judge.

Sometimes, anxiety is more potent than reason. You can't fall asleep because all that precious time is sand slipping through your fingers. Sometimes, sleep is heavy, knocking you out in the afternoon after you've spent three hours learning a programming language missing from your CV. And the rest of the time, you continue as if nothing had happened. You do your grocery shopping, looking at prices, depriving yourself of that piece of meat you love so much to choose a more economical one.

Discipline is vital to give yourself some semblance of courage. You tick off the steps, do what others do, keep an eye out for job offers, submit your application, and wait for it to bite at the bottom of the river of possibilities.

Maybe I'll laugh about the present when the boat's back on the water in three months. Maybe I'll...

Phoenix, me? Regaining your wings is easy when you know where you want to go. You take your time when you have less patience in the face of uncertainty. This struggle between the urgency to act and the need to give meaning to your actions can seem contradictory. You'll understand, young man, when you're my age.

And come to think of it, that's where the real wound lies, the one you inflict on yourself, the one that undermines your confidence and devalues you. That's where anguish feeds, in the almost empty bowl of your aspirations. And it's also where the new metal of courage is forged.

Alea jacta est.

Illustrations : Midjourney