Last day, First day

Last day in the office. Even though I stroll in a few minutes later than usual, no one is there to notice. It’s completely quiet. My boss is out of town, and others will slowly trickle in as the morning wears on. It rained today for the first time in ages — strange for Oregon this time of year — so my commute didn’t include the clear view of Mt. Hood I’d gotten used to over the past few weeks. Every day for the past 13 months, whether the sun was out or not, I would take a less conventional route to the office in order to express gratitude for the view. Today, clouds and drizzle dominate, so I didn’t see much, but it was still beautiful. I suppose summer doesn’t really start in Oregon until July 5th anyway.


My daily view when it was clear out.


At my desk for the last time; I wake my computer up. There’s one tea bag left on my office shelf, my stash coincidentally budgeted exactly right. While here, tea has been a part of my daily ritual. Today it is sipped out of a paper cup because I brought my mug home earlier this week. Over time I’ve saved some of the quotes attached to the bags; those are already home as well, along with a few pictures and a ball-shaped tie-dye monkey given to me by a friend who also writes. I tore open my teabag and read, “Sing with all your heart.” Perfect – eerily too perfect – for a week from that day I will be launching a road trip where I karaoke in the 48 contiguous states.


The perfect omen: The teabag reads “Sing with all your heart.”

I add it to my collection which consists of other sayings that felt right on the mornings they were given to me:

“Joy is the essence of success”

“A relaxed mind is a creative mind”

“If ‘Plan A’ didn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters”

I felt that each of those teabags was needling me to leave my job. Eventually I listened.

Boredom and chaos punctuate this last day, which made it both typical and atypical. I turn in my computer and recording equipment, leaving the box of tissues behind, along with the pen I’m using to write this on scrap paper. The pen is nothing special – a ballpoint from a major hotel chain – but it’s the pen I’ve used since I got here. Somehow I managed to keep the same pen this entire time.

I close my office door one final time to attend a happy hour held partially in my honor of my departure. Another colleague is also leaving. I barely knew her. She’s off on a fellowship and I’m off to chase dreams. I wish us both success.


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