My recent job loss wasn't the only time my life had failed to proceed according to plan. There was one other. Other than that, I have to say it's been pretty orderly, unless you count "I got what I wanted and it turns out it sucks", in which case very little has followed the plan. But let's be generous and focus on the two times when the universe just flat out told me no. These were both very big disappointments. I had a whole life built up in my head, and it was destroyed.
Something that comforted me both times was reading Megan McArdle (currently at The Atlantic, previously janegalt.net). She experienced something similar when 9/11 cost her her upcoming job of awesomeness +1 at a management consultant firm, which torpedoed her only point of entry into the $100k+ great hours live anywhere consulting field. It hurt. A lot. Despite her MBA the best job she could get was as a glorified secretary.
Several years later, she found a job as an economics journalist, which she absolutely loves. And here's the important bit: she never would have found it had she not been laid off and gone through two years of hell. If I hadn't lost my first opportunity, I never would have moved to my current line of work, a move that has without a doubt improved my life. I believed that even in the midst of the unemployment. Setbacks are temporary. Without them, you might never take the risks that allow you to do truly awesome things.
Of course, I'm saying this from a point of privilege. I have a good degree and an excellent resume in a high-paying large-opportunity field
Alas, I can't find the post where she spells out exactly how awesome losing her job led to the real job of awesomeness. But you can see for yourself that she's now a widely journalist with so much clout that she's got her own personal hate blog and a dismissive nickname used by even reputable bloggers on the opposing side. And isn't that what we all aspire to?