Well, the day has finally come when I am no longer officially employed. This is my last day that I have to show up, deal with staff issues, fill out time sheets, attend department head meetings, and so on. One of the last things I have to do is to turn in my exit checklist and sign over my equipment to others.
I have to tell you that it feels very good. One of my rowing friends asked me if it felt like the last day of high school. I had to pause because high school was quite a few years ago, but I could remember that sensation of getting out for the summer after graduation and knowing that a whole other world awaited me. College was still a few months away so I was essentially free to read what I wanted, cruise in my car, and to celebrate the rite of passage to adult hood. So yes, that is exactly how this feels.
And just like high school, there are those who have acknowledged my leaving in very meaningful ways, others who have given ritualistic and cliched acknowledgments, and others who have not acknowledged it at all. It would be easy to build a lot of expectations around all of this. But thankfully, my expectations are low when it comes to how people express their true feelings to others. Some are able to do this easily and for others, avoidance is the best way.
What is really good for me is that I know after so many years of working I have a new freedom and a new happiness. I am keeping my wonderful office that overlooks the harbor for the time being. I will be able to continue to do science without the administrative hassles. No one needs to hunt me down to handle this emergency or that. I can come and go as I want. I am experiencing being a free adolescent spirit once again. And I am celebrating the rite of passage to another stage of life. I'm not old and don't feel old, so I'm calling this rite of passage the one to my second life.
Recovery has been instrumental in that second life since the last few years here have been those in which I have practiced the Al-Anon program. Recovery will continue to be important in my life and now I will have more time to devote to service work. I am grateful to have these chances to do what I like to do from the standpoint of my profession and my recovery.