It was a typical Friday the 13th. My favorite bracelet broke in three places, a bank glitch prevented me from accessing money, I got pulled over by a cop, my coffee order was wrong, and then I got fired.
I managed to stay fairly calm during the unexpected, and wholly unwarranted firing process, but once I left the office, all bets were off. I asked my fella to meet at a local pub, and over beers, and through my tears, I poured it all out.
“It’s just so unfair, and unreasonable. I actually got fired for HELPING someone. Yesterday, they said I was a rock star, and were talking about elevating me to a new position, then today, bam. How was I supposed to know I couldn’t give money to a down-on-his-luck employee? Isn’t that what decent human beings do? Apparently, corporate America is not about being decent. Or human. I mean, no respectable company fires a hard-working, single mom two weeks before Christmas.”
I finished crying over the unfairness of it all, and then went into “reassess my life” mode. I had just been handed an unexpected vacation that would take place over my birthday and the holidays. I decided to take the time to enjoy my family, and do things I never had time to do while working 40-50 hours a week.
I sent a few networking emails and texts, submitted some applications on LinkedIn, and then set about preparing for whatever the universe deemed would be my next stage of life.
In order to help the universe along, I made a detailed list of things to accomplish before starting a new job:
Clean out closet
Clean out garage
Clean out car
Organize bills
Pay bills
Buy some organizational tools
USE organizational tools
Read a book, get a massage, and take long walks every day
I am now wrapping up week four of my unplanned vacation, with eleven days until I start my new job. My closet looks great, but only because the contents are piled in the hallway. My garage is actually more cluttered because I took everything from the spare room and “temporarily” dumped it there. My car is slightly cleaner due to the room I had to make for hauling “organizational tools” I have yet to implement. I haven’t actually paid the bills, but I did look at my checking account to see if I have money. I also read two chapters of a book and took three walks.
Yesterday, it occurred to me that with my remaining time, I should offer to help my stepmom with my dad’s seventieth birthday party, and ask my sister if she would like help moving into her new house. But I hesitated because my own list is still so long.
The fact is, my list will always be long because I have too much stuff. I am weary of “stuff” weighing me down and preventing me from living my best life. And I’m tired of the shuffling of stuff taking precedence over the things I’d really like to do, such as helping others.
This is the year I slow down (no more police stops), declutter (no more stuff interfering with life), start a new job (gratefully), and maybe even find a new favorite bracelet. And people think Friday the 13th is just another day on the calendar.
Syndicated columnist Ginger Claremohr is an author, speaker, and mother of five. Follow her on Facebook, find her on the web:, or contact