Did you catch the story about the lawyer who was on the flight that went down in the Hudson who then lost his job with a big NYC law firm? He says that ever since he lost his job and his Blackberry he doesn’t know who he is — his identity is gone. His emotions go from being thankful one minute to being angry & bitter the next.
Thankful to be alive. Angry & bitter over what will he do now that his life was saved, so to speak.
He says his condition only underscores the randomness of life.
It doesn’t underscore the randomness of life. It underscores what happens when we allow life’s circumstances to define us instead of defining in advance who we will be, no matter what the moment brings.
We like the illusions we live under. That’s why we create them. We spend more time imagining how life will play out rather than imagining what kind of people we will be if life doesn’t play out according to our game plan.
I don’t think life is random. I don’t believe there is one random thing about it. I think it is orchestrated with great care and attention to detail. As a writer I know how easily the structure of a story can fall apart without such attention to detail.
Life’s circumstances are constantly changing and we are constantly adapting to them. Or not. If we define our purpose in life, or our identity, based upon our circumstances, we are going to be like inexperienced shrimpers. Tossed around by the wind and coming home with empty nets. Or not coming home at all.
A job should bring us money. It might bring us status, or praise. It can just as easily bring us recrimination and shame and regrets.
The question for this man is not who he is now that he doesn’t have a job but rather who has he been all along?
Who will he be right now, in this moment?
It’s a question for all of us.