I’m in Europe this week so let’s try something new:
With every ending comes new beginnings. What was the most magnificent silver lining you discovered after going through a hard time? Talk to each other on this thread!
Here’s one of mine: I didn’t get an internship I really wanted at Buzzfeed. This led me directly to a job I hated, then quit so I could freelance and be a bartender for a year in New York City, which was among the most formative and meaningful years of my life. From there, I got my first Good Job at Time Out New York. Two years later, I was promoted to editor of the magazine. From a perceived failure came many, many wins, and immeasurable personal and professional growth.
Last year I tried to solo-hike a 300-mile trail. I was deep in the outdoor adventure world—I had been backpacking for years and watched friend after friend take huge solo hikes of their own. I felt like I was starting small and being overly cautious about my planning and prep. I was only two nights in when I had the worst, most terrifying panic attack of my life, and I left the trail the next morning. Honestly, I'm still sorting out a bright side. But I read a piece I wrote about the experience at an literary art crawl earlier this year, and the momentum of writing it (among a lot of other essays) has carried me into MFA applications. So here's to hoping the lining gets a little more silver.
Does it still count if I’m still figuring out my silver lining? To everyone I know it’s weird that 11 months after a breakup I’m still grieving. To me, it’s completely fine-ish. I see myself healing. Each time I start to take steps backward, I understand that I need to propel myself forward and can figure out how to do that. It’s the most magnificent thing ever! I’m learning how to accept situations as they come. Equally, I’m letting things go that I have no control over. I’ve never been able to do this and it’s no a small feat. I'm also working on having patience for when things are supposed to happen. It's easier to be happy and get (sort of) excited for the future.
I moved to Los Angeles almost ten years ago with a man who turned out to be a liar, a cheater and a serious gaslighter (also an actor—go figure). While I was with him, I was a mess of negative emotions all the time: I was paranoid, anxious, jealous, distressed, and overall, incredibly sad. Crying every day became my norm. When we finally ended things (he went to Canada to shoot a film and started a new relationship with his makeup artist while we were still together, which is a fucked up story for another day), I spent days lying on our bed staring at the ceiling, more depressed than I'd ever been. After about a week, though, my sadness became about something else—not losing this person, but having lost myself so completely in being with him, and having been so miserable for so long. And then a curious thing happened. Suddenly, I was laughing at everything, all the time. Literally laughing out loud in the street and the grocery store like an insane person, smiling wide, finding the humor and joy (and absurdity) in everything around me. I remember feeling so free, and light, and joyful and filled with mirth. I realized that I could only ever feel as good as I'd felt bad; the depth of my sorrow was directly informing the height of my joy. It's been incredibly comforting ever since, when I'm in a low, dark place, to know that each time I think I'm at the bottom, there's a new high waiting for me on the other side the likes of which I've never known. (Also, bonus silver lining: Moving to Los Angeles, a place I never thought I'd end up, turned out to be the catalyst for an amazing career, a flourishing love for the outdoors and a community that I was forced to build from scratch, which makes it so dear to my no-longer-broken heart.)
I quit my job that was burning me out for many months to go back to graduate school. However, I didn't make it and was crushed. Post that I have been trying to get a job. I haven't yet got a job but all this time for self after a grilling 17 months at my last job has in some ways been a blessing. I have started writing: something I have been wanting to do for a long time but had too much resistance to do earlier. I have even started a newsletter :) and I am proud of it and look forward to write it every week.
I was fired twice in one year! Being a single, 20-something far from home, I was terrified with no savings account to speak of. After the first firing, I put my blinders on to find new work as quickly as possible and ended up at a struggling agency where the owners weren’t even taking a paycheck. The second time around, I slowed down, tried to actually enjoy free time in New York, and ended up turning down a couple offers that didn’t feel right. I’ve been at my current company for four years and it’s opened doors no other opportunity could have. Trust your instincts above all else, because something even better is coming
Hi! In the same year I was twice promoted, I got laid off from a company I loved, and for which I spent most of my early career helping build. It felt like a bad break up, except that in addition to feeling worthless I also had no source of income. After that, I went into survival mode because I had massive student loan debt and rent that was imminently due. I had an outpouring of support from friends, family, and even colleagues I hardly knew offering to help me find jobs, get advice, and receive referrals. Within a week I had over 10 interviews set up and landed a new job within a month. It reminded me that true friends are the ones who support you in the worst times, not the ones who are only there for the good.
Two months later when there was another larger round of layoffs, I tried to help everyone I could because of the kindness that I received. Two years later I paid off my student loans. Three years later and I landed my dream job.
Silver linings are all about perspective. We instill the meaning into the moments that define our lives.