Control: a call to let go

Zach Roberts
3 min readMar 23, 2020


This morning, I woke up to a golf ball sitting in the base of my throat. Expanding at each breathe as I crawled toward the bathroom, I needed to do something. My mind racing for a solution…

Photo credit: Andrew Vargas (Flikr)

“I will do a meditation”

“No, I will do a meditation and a morning workout”

“I have to do something to prepare myself for what will lie ahead”

The last one captures holistically whenever anxiety serves as my morning alarm. Grasping at any remedy like sprawling for snooze after the 4th consecutive “5 more minutes”.

I looked directly into the mirror — thinking of how news pundits and experts said we are moving toward a recession.

My first one as a working adult. So, it only felt right what all I thought above was justified or essential. In that moment, I was sixteen years old all over again sitting on the living room floor.

Few months into my weekend server’s job at the Hilton Garden Inn, I got a call from my manager saying that I’ve been laid off. I was blindsided, “Did I do something wrong? Am I being fired?”

“No,” my manager responded. “We do not know if we will have enough to pay you.” At that time, I did not know what it meant to be laid off, what an economy was, or what it would be like to live during a recession (later to be known as The Great Recession).

No matter, I thought nothing of it a few minutes later (I chuckle now thinking about it). I was 16 years old, sophomore in high school, and this job was independent of my livelihood. It was not the end of the world for me.

I’ve read many posts of what advice today we would impart upon our younger selves. A few years into my own career, it feels there is little I could say to my 16-year old self. However, he said more than enough to me this morning.

It is not the end of the world.

It may feel like it, but it is nothing close. Life goes on and we must go on with it. It is a hard fact of life that I am still learning. Over the weekend, I sat in a vacant church parking lot exhausted from my routine calisthenic workout. Dripping in sweat, I proceeded into my silent meditation where in the span of 15 minutes, I proceeded to laugh and cry a little — it was like I was reliving puberty.

I feel like I’ve been asking for a change for a long time. Now, it has come and I don’t feel ready. Sometimes I want to crawl into bed and sleep until it is over.

I want to do something, anything to give me a sense of relief and peace each morning. As my 16-year old self would say, “It is not the end of the world”.

Nope, it is sure not.



Zach Roberts

Demystify product marketing. 2022 Product Marketing Alliance Newcomer of the Year. Living in San Francisco.