You might not think I'd be able to correlate the fact that I broke my nose five years ago this week to the fact that I lost my job on Wednesday. You'd be so darn wrong.
Five years ago, I was a bright-eyed 18-year-old, so ready to graduate high school, move back to America, and start my college career. I was ready to spend exam week partying (read: jumping on trampolines and eating ice cream) with my friends and truly enjoy the last few days I had with them. Then I broke my nose.
Three days ago, I was a still-bright-eyed 23-year-old, working at PuckerMob, about to take my grad school career from full-time to part-time so I could continue working a 40 hour-a-week job. I'm exiting a really dark, really long period of intense depression and had been feeling so, so good. Then I lost my job.
Both of those "Then I..." things were curveballs that I wasn't expecting. When I climbed onto that trampoline five years ago, ready to jump about and maybe execute a flip or two, I didn't anticipate that merely five minutes later I'd be sitting with a broken nose, a cut on my knee and blood pooling in my hands. When I woke up Wednesday morning and headed into Manhattan, I didn't expect that I would take the train home unemployed.
In the moment, both events were life-changing. I'd never broken a bone before; nor had I ever lost a job.
The correlation between the two events is this: looking back and laughing at the fact that this job loss comes almost perfectly five years after my broken nose, I can see how the lessons I learned in that situation will bring me forward.
On the Monday morning that I broke my nose, I had no idea where the future was going to take me. I hoped it would take me to Kentucky for college; I hoped it would provide great friends, boyfriends, maybe a husband and a white-picket-fence house and children and the possibility of being a writer.
Instead, the future took a turn about halfway through my time in Kentucky. I got into journalism and realized that's where my passion was. That led me to New York City in March 2013, for a journalism conference. And that trip — that trip changed everything.
Because I fell in love on that trip. I fell in love with the movement of the city, the energy, the drive. I fell in love and I felt like I had come home. I felt an intense sense of belonging that stole my heart, soul, mind.
For the next two and a half years, I dreamed and I schemed about how I could get to NYC. Right before the end of my junior year, I saw a brochure for the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, and I thought — yes. Columbia became not only the dream school, but my ticket to the city.
For a year, I prayed about getting to Columbia. And then, when the time came to choose my grad school...I went to NYU. (Yes, there will soon be a post about why I think that was one of the best decisions I've ever made.)
And NYU brought me to the city. And there have been some ups and downs — from the week-long hospitalization to my friends at Hillsong NYC to getting the chance to explore Maya Angelou's home to working at PuckerMob to being unemployed.
In this moment of uncertainty and, yes, fear, I can look back and see how the path of my life, while unexpected, has been just right. I can see how God took what I wanted and slowly shaped and molded those desires, leading me always to something better, something even more well-suited to me. It's incredible, really.
And that's why I'm not panicking over losing my job.
This week I've been inundated by memories from five years ago and the reminder of how differently things have turned out than I planned. So I know that this unemployment is not what I would have chosen. I would definitely have chosen to keep working and have, you know, money and stuff.
Instead, I'm now spending my days furiously applying for all sorts of jobs, writing #SavingGrace, my new YA novel, hanging out with friends and actively looking for the good in things. Also for money.
I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that this wrinkle in my plans means there is something better for me. (In fact, I'm already planning my second tattoo [to be gotten sometime after I finally get around to getting the first tattoo!]: in typewriter font, small, on the edge of my right forearm: something better.)
Tattoos aside, I'm holding onto the memory of how curveballs make life better. At the least, they provide an excellent story (hi, my name is Karis, I have a scar on my knee from the time I broke my nose and graduated high school with a huge white cast on my face). At the best, they send our lives going in a different, unexpected, yet so much more glorious direction.
I can't wait to see where this adventure takes me. Come along for the ride, will ya?