On another tough day in Bristol, Conn.:

My heart aches for those at ESPN - reportedly more than 100 employees - who are losing their jobs this week. It was a difficult experience for me last fall, when my contract wasn't renewed.

So my thoughts are with everyone at ESPN who will begin traveling that new path.

That said, while it's jarring today to so many who are learning this news, know that there's a certain freedom for many of those affected.

For me, the constant, looming fear of losing my job - and the taxing fight to keep it  - was worse than actually losing my job. Far worse.

I guess that's not unlike a lot of things in life: The anxiety of something happening is worse than the thing in actuality. Nothing to fear but fear itself, etc., right?

I have a friend going skydiving today. I'm afraid of heights, so there's no way in hell I'd ever do that. But, as I think about it, it's the lead-up to leaping from a plane that would terrify me. Once you're in the air, I imagine a lot of those sensations subside. I imagine you just let go and fly.

And that's how the final year or two went for me at ESPN: I uneasily sat on the airplane, afraid I'd be pushed out. I was fearful of the fall - and whether my 'chute would work.

As those fears gradually consumed me, I lost sight of priorities and, frankly, I became unhealthy. Bits and pieces of who I had been eroded in the effort to preserve my job. I'd worked my whole adult life to get to ESPN, so it was perhaps only natural that I didn't want to see that end - even if it was damaging me.

Once the inevitable finally did happen, I was met by myriad emotions that cycled initially by the minute ... then by the hour ... then by the day ... then intermittently over weeks and months. To this day, whenever I look back, I still feel pangs of anger and joy and everything in between.

But the central, lasting sense is gratitude for the experience - the moments and relationships that defined my time there. More than that, it's thankfulness for this newfound freedom. There's profound perspective and such an important time of self-reflection that comes along with it.

I truly believe I'm a better person and professional today because I was let go by ESPN.

It allowed me to figure out what I wanted to do instead of what I felt that I had to do.

So, I'm undoubtedly mourning the decisions made this week and the changed lives; it's all still very difficult. But I'm genuinely hopeful for my friends and former colleagues who will now find a truer professional purpose and a release from what was holding them captive.

-- Trav