The last couple of days have been rather emotionally charged for me. About a week ago, I started purging my files and papers at work to leave behind only the necessary items, taking home what I could (personal things) and preparing myself to depersonalize my workspace for someone else to use. Thursday, I took home some books, binders, papers and more than half of my plants (filled two whole boxes with these things) to take home in preparation for my move this coming Monday. And yesterday, I filled two more boxes with the remaining items, including one very large philodendron that took up nearly one whole box and spilled over the edge. My plants are my friends; it was a final sign that I was going away and not coming back there to stay.
It felt weird to leave my workstation behind with only the bare essentials of the job that I can now access online (so I don’t need huge binders cluttering up my workspace when I move) from my new apartment in a neighboring province. It felt weird to turn my computer off instead of logging off.
What was more weird was the relationship stuff. Thursday at lunch, my team took me to a nearby restaurant. They invited my husband and daughter to attend. My boss got up and started talking about me in such glowing terms. I looked around and noticed that everyone was looking at me and smiling… for an introvert, that’s a big deal (and perhaps not the most comfortable feeling). They were all so happy for me as I move on to “live my dream.” They gave me a few gifts (a photo, a corkscrew [haha] and a gift card for one trip across the Confederation Bridge] and a card signed by everyone with personal messages from each – very meaningful – and we eventually got a group photo, taken by our waitress, who turned out to be one of my youngest daughter’s friends when she was still alive. Many of my colleagues were amazed by this and saw it as a sign or portent of some sort; I was not surprised because my daughter knew so very many people and they all loved her to bits!
When I got back to work, another team presented me with a gift (a potted plant as well as a rose and baby’s breath in a juice glass) and card, which they signed with well-wishes.
And yesterday, as I continued to get things together to take with me, there was a nearly constant stream of people who either stopped to talk in the hallway or came to see me at my desk (even the Director and HER boss, separately!) and I went to say my farewells to a certain few people. One former co-worker took me to a nearby coffee shop and bought me a coffee and we talked for almost an hour. What a treat to spend time with her!
Finally, just before she left for the day, my neighbor from across the aisle presented me with a little gift that was so meaningful to me – her plaque that her sister-in-law had made for her and which I always looked at when I was at work. It was a little piece of wood (4″ x 16″) painted black and distressed, with beige calligraphy painted onto it saying, “Just Breathe” – a good reminder to keep centered and shed stress (part of my self-care regimen). That she gave me a gift originally made for her was just incredible!! (Yes, I cried.) She also included a little stuffed Beanie Baby (a kitten) to keep me company in my new place, and a sweet card that said some really nice things about enjoying being my neighbor.
People on Facebook who are also my colleagues at work have been sending me messages of encouragement through that medium. My friends and family are amazingly supportive and are trying to make this transition as painless as possible for me – this transition from always being with someone around to having no one around, from relying on others to do chores to being responsible for doing my own, from working one jobs to working two (even if one is unpaid for the time being). The memories and expressions of support that all of these people have given me are a great source of strength.
I’m gathering all these memory fragments together, and in two more days, I will sally forth on my maiden voyage toward a new career in counseling. It is difficult to describe the feelings of nostalgia and trepidation, of sadness and excitement, of anticipation and fear that are all mushed up together inside of me in some sort of bittersweet soup. But I hope that I have been able to convey a little of it.
A month from now, all my fears will probably have dissipated. My path will be clear; my schedule will be set, and I will be sailing day by day to get to my destination, and grateful for the strong arm of my supervisor, and her hand with mine on the rudder of this craft. But for now, I am about to embark on a journey that I am sure will change me, and change my life permanently, hopefully for the better.
I have the ballast of the support of those who love me and who care about what happens to me. And I have the Force of the Wind (pneuma – the breath of God) to fill my sails, and the much-needed life-jacket of my school, and its insurance policy regarding students, as a safeguard. With the Morning Star to guide my path, I am sure to reach my goal, although I don’t know what lies between.
And so, I will sally forth to find my destiny. And although there will be times of loneliness and of self-doubt, I expect that there will also be joy in the journey and beauty in the adventure!