My last day of work was this past Thursday. I came home and raised a glass to celebrate a career that has spanned three and a half decades. I sat on my couch contemplating and enjoying the lingering scents of cologne and perfume, reminding me of all the farewell hugs I received. It is refreshing to be leaving the rat race. Commutes are now a thing of the past and so is setting an alarm with the same digital clock radio that has been waking me up for 37 years. I bought it at BJ’s for ten dollars to arouse me for my college classes when my Mom told me it was time for me to take the responsibility for getting up on my own (Hint: she wanted to sleep in).
I will miss my co-workers, although personal interaction has dwindled through time as gathering at the water cooler/coffee pot and desks in open space has given way to Tim Horton stops and isolated cubicles and screens. Voice and emails have added overwhelming volume to communication, interfering with conversation time. My serving self will miss the students that I assist. When I started working, many of them were older than I (single and freshly graduated with my Associate’s degree). A lifetime has passed that included marriage, divorce, raising two children, earning my Bachelor’s and rising up the professional ladder just high enough to help students in a more direct way while keeping me away from administration. In time that faded too, as software replaced the human touch and interaction was replaced by time for learning those systems. When two years remained before my retirement and my position was eliminated, I found myself in a job search that had become electronic; dehumanized; the descriptions virtually focused. The interpersonal and communication skills that I possess were no longer marketable. I landed a position that was a demotion in title, yet a promotion for me personally in every sense of the word, because it once again put me at the frontline of face-to-face serving that I so love. I have been blessed to have a career where I was able to always compassionately cheerlead my fellow humans in person. Left to my personal freedom in “refirement” to make my own decisions based on what brings me and others hope and joy, the breadth of my vocation will unfold and be realized to the fullest on my own terms (based on values rather than policies) through Capture Life Writing.
I leave the University at Buffalo with happy memories of the many friends I have made, events I have experienced, people who have guided me. And to know that I have had the privilege of assisting the lives of thousands of young adults whether through a smile and quick directions to a building or steering them from internship to career by showing them their worth; that time is its own reward. Every day I learned something to take with me, and I am grateful. It’s time to pass the gavel to someone who deserves the same opportunity. And to dedicate myself to offering sanctuary literally and metaphorically.
FROM THE SANCTUARY:
With nearly two weeks straight of cloudy days and inches of rain, many are complaining. Not me. The contrast of the yellows, oranges and reds of the maple trees is striking and magnified by the wet and grey skies. Mother Nature is setting up her autumn decorating by painting a canvas of colored leaf decals on the blacktop driveway, deck and lawn carpet. Beautiful! The other day as I watched the leaves fall from the trees, I wondered whether they were victims of the wind or intentional partings, individuals tired of swaying all summer long and ready to give their host a rest to make room for the spring newbies. The squirrels are racing around, playfully gathering their nuts. Aside from nearby traffic, the neighbor’s leaf blower is the only outside sound beyond squawking blue jays and migrating geese whose calls reach beyond the stifling of the closed windows. As I gaze from the inside out at the frosty temperatures, I raise my glass to all I have in this peaceful place, and look forward to a bountiful Thanksgiving. And in preparing myself for new beginnings in the spring, I rejoice at the thought of accompanying Mother Nature in a restful, rejuvenating winter.
Fond Farewell, University at Buffalo and
Bountiful and Joyful Thanksgiving Everyone!