This will be the first in what I hope will be a series of three blog posts chronicling an important transition in my life.
A few years ago, I befriended a /Filmcast listener from across the pond. What began as a series of harsh disagreements on our interpretations of specific films ended up blossoming into a really meaningful friendship. At the time, I had just come off a pretty bad breakup, and I found this person to be a constant source of comfort. She was and is an amazing person, someone whose kindness and understanding helped me to weather an extraordinarily rough patch in my life. Our friendship took the form of frequent Skype calls, during which I would lament the state of my existence and she would find it in herself to constantly encourage me, and embolden me to make interesting choices that I would typically shy away from.
The thing is, her life wasn’t exactly all sunshine and lollipops either. She also suffered from occasional bouts of loneliness and struggled with her career. I think we found a connection in these shared experiences. She always had a saying she was fond of repeating to me:
You never know what is just around the corner.
I really appreciated this expression. There’s the obvious implication of hope there, but what I like most is it’s trying to tell you that sometimes you don’t have the whole picture. You don’t have a full understanding of the forces at work in your life. Sometimes, a long period of darkness and despair has an abrupt ending (and soon) that you might not be able to see or even conceive of. So don’t give up. In life, you never know what is just around the corner.
Fortunately for her, this saying proved to be true. Within two years after I made first contact with her, she’d found an amazing man, her career was taking off, and she soon became pregnant with what is today a beautiful baby girl. The demands of a relationship and of motherhood have made it difficult for us to chat that much these days. But she is one of those people whose impact on my life was so profound and edifying that I’m grateful to have had her in my life, if just for a little while.
Three months ago, I was not in a great place. A significant job offer had fallen through this past fall, which led me to a seemingly endless series of humiliating rejections (of all different varieties). I’d spent years completing my Master’s degree, but I was coming to its conclusion with no significantly improved career prospects. My contract at my current job was rapidly coming to an end and I didn’t know what I was going to do. In fact, I’d pretty much resigned myself to the idea that there was no longer any possibility for me to work in an exciting, growing field that I was passionate about. Those of you who know me and support me may think it’s pretty ridiculous for me to have given up hope at this stage, but the fact of the matter is, when you hear “No” enough times, you start to wonder if “Yes” is even possible.
Then came a phone call.
And another one.
And still one more.
Within a period of two weeks in early March 2012, several job opportunities appeared out of nowhere, each from a different person I’ve been fortunate enough to meet over the years. (Perhaps one of the biggest blessings of being down-and-out on your luck is that you are given the opportunity to witness the kindness of friends and colleagues). Within a 10-day period, I’d flown 12,000 miles to job interviews and back to Boston, a whirlwind of self-examination and intense questioning that brutalized the body and the soul, but which was nevertheless filled with excitement. My friend Rachell once expressed to me the truism, “After the final ‘no,’ there’s a ‘yes.'”
Yesterday, I received my first full-time job offer in over 5 years.
In the days to come, I’ll be telling you all about what i’ll be doing with my life for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, I just wanted to share my story — one of mild success borne out of reaching out, making connections, and finding that those connections have led to my salvation. If it could happen to a schmuck like me, certainly it could happen to any of you. Sometimes, you never know what is just around the corner.