I can’t believe I can write this: this was my last day at work. For the forseeable future. For at least one year. How did that happen?! And what will life be like without work?
I suppose I’ve had breaks from work before, but this one feels substantially different, new life phase different. All the years I was in school there was always school work on my mind – I was never truly done, never on a new phase. I had a few months unemployment after teaching last year – that may have been the closest, but I expected to pick up work just as I had before – similar type of job, similar hours, still trying to get lots done.
Now things feel different. I have, for one, about a month to get ready for baby and do other things I want to do. I know it will go quickly, but I also think it will feel surprisingly open, given my usual 9-5 schedule. For another, after baby comes, life will be completely different. My usual task orientation is going to have to give way. I will have months devoted to nothing but baby (okay, and taking care of myself; and still, always, being there for my husband and vice versa). But outside of that, my primary responsibility will be baby. Feeding. Bathing. Helping to sleep. Ogling. Kissing. And, I suppose, laundry and cooking and cleaning and some time for self-care mixed in as well. A totally different life, with totally different schedule and expectations. How strange is that? I’ll be a mother. I’ll have a child. I’ll be dependent on my husband in a different way; we’ll be a team in a different way. We’ll have a new focus to what we do. It is very hard to wrap my mind around this concept of a totally new way of being.
My last day was more challenging and also easier than I thought. I locked my keys in the office last night – one more time, just for my final day. Once someone let me into the office, I got right to some of the final clean-up work I had to do, and final emails to send. I went out for a bagel & cream cheese – hungry after sleeping in and granola wasn’t filling enough for breakfast. Then facilities came to help move, later than I thought, but things were still a mess. I cleaned up quickly and then tried to help oversee the transfer of way too much stuff between 3 offices. That was somewhat frustrating, seeing that there was too much new stuff to fit into the room but not being able to put it into order for the person. And the phone and computer ended up unplugged, so I couldn’t get to any more last emails after that, or be there for a final call from my Vancouver colleagues (who are really wonderful). But then I had to let it go, leave a note for my successor with whatever details I could (and one task I never got to – not that it matters, it’s not a huge priority), and leave the office for the last time.
Though that was not the end – dropped in for lunch with a friend who’s doing an orientation for a group of students. Then last-minute drop-offs and mailings and a stop at IT (which wasn’t the happiest visit, as they didn’t love that the computer and phone were now unplugged, WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION, not that I loved that they hadn’t come to work on the computer as they had said they would, but whatever – I’m done and they will deal with it. And finally, the library for last emails, a last visit with a colleague, and some journal searching for some of the writing I may or may not do in the next month.
And then, final drop-off of parking pass. And as I was driving off, was pulled over by my security friends to say good-bye, one of whom told me he doesn’t expect me back – after being with baby, he imagines I won’t be able to leave. I acknowledged that he might be right, but that I wasn’t making any decisions about that right now. And though a comment like that might be taken as too personal or intrusive, I actually found it a reassuring reminder that my life has just entered a new phase, and I don’t need to decide right now what comes next – I just know a bit about my work for the next month – a big part of which is relaxing and getting mind and body ready for birth – and we can take whatever comes next.
Then I had a lovely afternoon at mom & dad’s, including a nap and food. And now I’m home – the start of my first weekend on maternity leave. The first weekend of something completely new and different.