Today saw the end of a 14 year long career at a job where I enjoyed many of the people I worked with. The day was emotional. This morning I woke up a 5am, a full thirty minutes before my alarm was set to go off, worried I would somehow forget to go in. Many people expected me to call in as so many had done in the past for their last day. I took this as a continuation of the senior skip days that had me puzzled even in high school. I did go in to work with the thought “one last chance to get things right.” I cleaned the rooms and made sure the patients were satisfied with the job. I gave them extra bags to hang on their bed side tables for their small bits of trash. At the end of the day there were handshakes and comments of disappointment. I can’t say I blame them. There are a few good people there, although many have left or are leaving to other jobs. Part of leaving is letting go of the stress that comes with worrying about the place you work. Part of me feels bad that I left those concerns for others to deal with, but in the end eventually those responsibilities will have to be handed off for one reason or another.
So I clocked out like have for the last 14 years, no different than any other day. Walked to my car and got to work on a job that I already had started two years ago. I stopped at the library and reserved a room for a pod cast. I enjoyed the last burrito I would have for a while. Drank a beer at my favorite place. Finishing the victory lap only for myself, I went home to enjoy the evening and figure out what I was going to do with myself.
The questions in my head I never had before. Do I go to bed at the same time or stay up late if I’m on a roll with my writing? Should I take a few days off like my girlfriend suggested and relax a bit before diving into something new? Maybe I should go fishing?
I stayed home, worked on a gardening book for Amazon, and played in the garden. I wrote several pages letting the knowledge in my head regurgitate on to the screen. The garden received some weeding and mulching. Dishes were done. The house is still a mess. The true relief comes from knowing I won’t be working by myself tomorrow at a job I don’t enjoy. I will be working for myself.
The interesting thing about writing is that it doesn’t feel like work. For people that enjoy their jobs they never feel that dread of going to the work place. There isn’t anywhere they would rather be. The hours have been known to fly by when I’m behind the keyboard. The only regret I ever have when that happens is not getting something else done around the house. Even then I’m happy with what I had accomplished.
My check list of things to do hangs on my wall. Considering I already had my first pod cast interview, I’m ahead of schedule. The gardening book is coming along faster than anticipated, but since the knowledge is coming from my experience and years of reading on the subject I shouldn’t have expected any less. My life and my future is now in my hands. If I screw it up I have nobody to blame but me. The collapse experiment is on. Life is a one shot deal. There are no second chances.
Matthew Gilman can be contacted on his author Facebook page and found on Twitter.