I woke up, dressed, and went to the gym to teach my class as usual. 16 people, not bad for the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. A few minutes in the pool to cool off and calm down, 10 minutes in the Jacuzzi, and then it was impossible to avoid it any longer.
Traffic was light and I got to work by 8:30 and sat down for my last day.
Last day. After 12 years, one more shift, one more lunch, one more drive home.
And then what? A vacation to distract me, a few days more of Christmas break, and then the kids are back at school, the house empties, and I sit. What next?
Last night as I talked to my friend I realized that it was my last bus ride home. The last bus pass for a while, the last time standing on the corner in the cold complaining with the other riders that Pat is always late and that Darrel runs early and…freak it’s cold outside… last time.
I pulled in to the parking garage and turned off the car. I could feel it in the backs of my knees, the tingle that starts before any big event. It’s my body betraying it’s nervousness, the anticipation, almost a “fight or flight” feeling. Do I hunker down and wait out the last few hours or do I engage and write and say goodbye and get my hugs and accept the reality of losing the people I have learned to love the past 12 years.
A group of us, my old staff and some extras went to lunch to commemorate my departure. No speeches were asked for nor offered, on e guy missed it all together to handle a computer crisis, the bill came and was paid by my peer who drove in to say good-bye. That was nice.
I didn’t get the “bag of crap’ that is traditionally given, a company gym bag full of last year’s mug, some golf balls, a hat, some note pads that you were going to steal anyway to go with the pens that went out in your gym bag last week. It’s all quite anti-climactic really. I’m just one of 6 leaving today or tomorrow, one already took off on Tuesday and I missed saying goodbye to him, and he got no lunch at all, so why complain?
Before I leave I have to pack. Earlier this week my wife offered to drive in to help, but what would I have her do with the condoms in the drawer, the ones that are next to the panties sent by a friend as a thank-you. What do I do with 9 years of Sport Illustrated Swimsuit Editions, or the 3 Victoria’s Secret catalogs with annotations for a friend’s shopping spree? I have a life here at work that is totally removed from my home life.
Here I have friends from all over the world. At home I have a family, 4 walls, and some acquaintances at the gym, none of them willing to talk dirty to me. J Here I am an author, a friend, a Master, a lover, a blogger, a bit of a man-whore, and part of a community. At home I’m just me.
If this sounds self-pitying it should not, it’s pensive and transitional. It will pass. Another job will come, I will find time to write, but not chat as much. I will enjoy Tumblr on my phone in my private moments, but not at home, at my desk, with my wife at my side. Real life, for a while, will crowd out part of who I am. But that is the nature of life, “Change is the only constant.”
So, I will get moving on from the sadness of leaving and count my blessings of 12 years of gainful employment, 10 years of good bosses, great friends, lots of time to write and think and play, and since we are still in the Christmas Season I will tag on a song from my favorite version of “A Christmas Carol,” because I really do have a thankful heart.
(If you haven’t seen the Muppets production of “A Christmas Carol” you really must add it to next year’s celebration. It’s a wonderful adaptation with cute music and some really funny Muppets.)