As I walked out of my school yesterday, I expected to feel something more . . . momentous? After all, it was the last day I'd be leaving that campus, after working there since 2002. Perhaps I should have stopped and forced myself to ponder.
But I was running a bit later than I expected. My department was gathering at a colleague friend's house to say good-bye. And so, I went to my loaded down car.
I spent much of my last day on campus packing up the last of my office, moving files that need to be saved (my computer's hard drive will be wiped out soon, if it hasn't happened already, as will the e-mail account), and saying good-bye. My dean took a group of us out to lunch, which was a treat in so many ways--we are all usually too busy to go out in a big group. People said kind words--it is good to know that I will be missed. I have spent many days of my professional life wondering if anything I do matters at all.
The events of the past weeks have reminded me again and again that yes, of course, each and everyone of us matters in ways that we can scarcely fathom during our travels through the day.
After my lovely last day of work, I headed over to my going away party. It was wonderful to be surrounded by department members who are more friend than colleague, eating delicious food, trying a variety of wines, reminiscing and reminding each other that I'm not moving to Idaho. We can maintain connections.
But these last years of lay-offs reminds me of how much more intentional one must be to maintain those connections when we won't be seeing each other on a daily or weekly basis at work. It was good to have one last gathering to remind us all of how valuable we are to each other.