Friday, January 23, 2009

The Last of 5,200 Days

Ahhh, today is my last day at the place I've worked for over 20 years. Earlier this week I was freaking out. I kept looking at my keys -- the keys I've held in my hand at least 5,200 times, and I couldn't imagine being without them. My computer -- my nest! Yesterday the IT gal came and set it up so my friend and colleague can use it when I'm gone, next week, when she takes over. Yesterday I turned in all but the one key I needed to get in the door today. Holding that lighter, sparser keychain made thinking of leaving easier, bit by bit. And seeing my colleague bring in her plants, books and family pictures little by little this week makes it easier to imagine someone else's life in the lab that I built.

Earlier this week I had my last videoconference with a group I have been working with for a year, some of my favorite people on the planet and in New Mexico education. There is a big picture window behind the ITV and I sat there staring out the window at the North Valley fields, the cottonwoods behind it, the mountains behind that and the blue chalk sky above. If you know New Mexico, you can picture these four things, each with their own space and color. Every 20 or 30 seconds, small groups of geese flew across my window scene, following the river, out beyond the cottonwoods. I won't have this view from my new pink cubicle, week after next. But I guess I'll have the memories.

To help say goodbye, today the woman who does most of the landscaping on the campus came by we took a last walk down by the bosque, along the loop of dirt road where I've listened to the wind in the leaves every year, in every season and in every weather. I'm grateful for this hectic week and this chance to prepare to say goodbye.

Yesterday morning my coworkers cooked breakfast in their own areas and brought the dishes in one by one, and we ate in my (not my) lab. Scrambled eggs, bacon, cheesy hash browns, jalapeno bagels with cream cheese, a huge pot of coffee, orange juice, and muffins galore. My husband was able to take a little time off work to come by. I'm so grateful to have hugged all these men and women I've worked with since their grown children were little children. There were lots of laughs, and jokes, but I was grateful most of all for the gentle sincerity.

It's such a nice way to go. Ok, I'm not going, exactly. They gave me a contract to teach one online course as an adjunct faculty, LOL! I'm grateful for that, too. We joked today about my buttprints being all over the furniture (ok, sorry, TMI), and opting for "emotional bungee cords" over "cutting the apron strings." Ease me out slowly. 8-)

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1 comment:

  1. Best of luck in your new job, Mary. Change is difficult, but often rewarding.

    Arline

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