Yesterday, I cleaned out my desk at work. I spent the afternoon giving away doodads and things from my toolbox (including a flowered hammer that Ken gave me seven years ago, promising no one would ever steal it). Every gift bought me a hug. I'm not much of a pack rat (at work anyway), but when I got back to my desk and started going through my drawers I was surprised at the things I've held onto for the past 12 years.
A program from the funeral of a cleaning lady I got to know all too well during a spate of very long workdays.
A pieced together ransom note demanding cookies in exchange for the heavy duty stapler I couldn't locate.
A felt angel with a sparkly halo from a woman who'd worked for the company back when the company fit in a small office.
My notes from the first computer the company bought 12 years ago.
The coffee cup from my first boss, a brilliant and exacting man now disappearing into advanced Alzheimers.
I packed up my Get Fuzzy desk calendar and the clock Matt bought at Bombay Company just for my desk. I emptied the paper clips from the little Haviland china dish mom and I found at a junk shop for a fifty cents. I boxed up an array of photos that have changed over the years from school pictures to high school graduation shots to college graduation pictures to wedding photos.
12 years ago during my first interview, I said I wanted to stay long enough to be able to show everyone pictures of my first grandchild.
And I will.
Because after 12 years of folding myself into a job that wasn't always a brilliant fit, my three enlightened, insightful, out-of-the-box-thinking bosses have gifted me with a brand spanking new job I think I'm going to be very good at - a job I think I'm going to love. A job where I can roll up my sleeves and work hard and jump start my creativity and have a blast. A job where I can grow and stretch and breathe some fresh air into my 8-5 life. I'm as excited as I am terrified.
That's probably a good balance of emotions. Astronaut-like.
I picked up my box, shouldered my purse and walked the halls through the office turning off lights. At the door, I stopped for one last look down the long executive hallway that has been my home for 12 years. It will be strange to make the rounds of different hallways for morning hellos next week. I'll be back in the these halls occasionally but as a very different person, I expect. I'm not old, but I am at an age where new opportunities and new attitudes and new faith aren't to be taken lightly. But I'm also full of experiences and ideas and skills and a certain fearlessness I didn't have 12 years ago.
So off I go on a new adventure. I head downstairs, across the atrium where the poinsettia tree sits every Christmas and out to the parking lot. As I get in the car, I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and notice a big grin on my face.
Today, I'm still grinning.
Look out, world.