This is my death week at work, the week where I stagger around like a zombie, neither living nor dead, here but not relevant, employed yet obsolete. This is the grim way of looking at things. On the positive side, I am on the second of a five-day victory lap through my professional life, cleaning things out, reading old emails with fondness and wistfulness (wist?). We are having good lunches every day this week for old times' sake. On thursday we are having a departure party for me over at the West End, in the backroom. Cold beer and inexpensive foods will flow, people will be there. My colleagues are secretive now, preparing things that I can't know about. It's weird to be the center of attention this way. It's nice to be appreciated but this is something different.
Last night I was beginning to realize how profoundly things are changing at the moment. My entire life in New York has been defined by my involvement with my office and the people therein. By leaving this position I lose daily contact with them, I give up my affiliation with this awesome institution, and the northern boundary of my Manhattan life goes thudding south about fifty blocks. Yet this is a good change - it's time for me to go, and I'm leaving on my own terms. Going back to school was my choice, as was the school I'm attending. I engineered all of this to happen this way over a year ago, and yet I can't believe it's all happening. This is another graduation of sorts, I guess. I was trying to recount the chapters of my postgraduate life the other day - I think this is number three, maybe four - but I'm on the brink of a new one, a more different one.
Tomorrow I'm running a five mile race in the park. I've been trying to prepare for it, but muggy weather and a stiff knee have complicated things. Thursday is the big party. Friday is my last day of work (I need to get some cards or something for my colleagues, crap) and then my parents are in town for the weekend. Russell will be here too. Then on Monday I have jury duty, and assuming I'm not sequestered away for some mafioso/New York rapper celebrity trial, I'll be back in Ol' Virginny in early August. Home to Charlottesville for a food tour and a wedding, a reunion with many friends, and then a trip to Mississippi with James to pay our respects to William Faulkner's house. If I could I would fast-forward through these next few days to bring me back home. I know I should savor these last moments at work with my people, but I am not one for goodbyes and I feel like a relic already.
Ever since I heard that song 'Landslide' when I was sixteen or so, the line about handling the seasons of one's life has always gotten to me. Especially now in the midst of all of this change. There are a few constants in my life, which I am thankful for, and of course everything going on is within my control and was the result of my choices, but somehow all of this is greater than the sum of its parts. I didn't realize it would be quite like this, sailing through the changing ocean tides...