I still have a couple of hundred business cards with my name and title on them that will never be handed out.
And I will never again be able to work in my pajamas. Man, that sucks.
There are stories I was looking forward to writing; events I was excited to cover.And there are so many contacts and sources who have become acquaintances, friends and people I really admired and respected. (There were also those that made me laugh, shake my head or scream in disgust in the privacy of my car or home).
The business cards will be thrown out (unless anyone has any grand crafts ideas using the buggers). The stories may or may not be written, someone else’s byline at the top of the article one day. The events will go on without me (Flight 93/9/11 10-year-anniversary; a three-year murder case that could see the death penalty in a trial this summer…). Some of the people may stay in my life — maybe I’ll bump into them in a downtown coffee shop; maybe they’ll even visit my new place of employment.
This feeling of absolute anxiety is normal for leaving behind something you love in order to find yourself — and your family — in a better place, literally and figuratively.
I had to start a list of things I will NOT miss about this job. And it’s a long list. With each added item, I feel a little more comfortable with my decision.
The scanner squelching away at 3 a.m. Leaving my dinner cold on the table as I dash off to an evening house fire. The mess of notebooks, papers, pens and cameras that winds its way from my office upstairs all the way down the stairway to the dining room and living room below. The court cases filled with unbearably descriptive images painted of child abuse, neglect, kidnapping, death. Going eight hours without eating because I’m trapped on a mountain-top five-vehicle car crash scene, wading through spilled ice cream from a truck and learning about two men that died there that morning. Sitting in a courthouse for hours for a hearing that gets continued. Being told that there is a special place in Hell for reporters and lawyers. (OK, that one I sort of enjoyed) Eight-hour days that turn into 10 or 12-hour days — in a job where overtime hasn’t existed for more than a year.
And I will leave this job with my pride, integrity and maturity in tact. But there are many more things on my list.
So that list is long.
Then why is there this lump in my throat?
The scanner, camera and office key card are being turned in this weekend. And that door is literally going to swing shut forever.
I can’t imagine what tomorrow — my last day — will be like. For that matter, I can’t even imagine my new life, new job. I’m so excited though. I think I’ll be looking forward to this new chapter once I can officially close the door on this one.
I’m ready. Ready to give it a whirl. Put on my best business suit and my count-on-me smile and do what I need to do to be a great employee who is respected, trusted and appreciated. Then I’m more than ready to look my husband and son in their beautiful eyes and know that I can finally give them 100 percent of my time and attention. And love. That I’m really there, in the moment. That I hear their breathing, see their smiles, smell baby lotion and a hard days’ work worth of sweat. That I can love them completely because I love my life completely.
I need to listen to Zack’s first words instead of the police scanner.
I need to say “I love you” more often to Scott instead of “I’m almost done with this story” or “I have to go to a meeting tonight.”
I need to spend my downtime taking more photographs and learning every button and option on my amazing camera. So that I can capture more of the beauty around me that I might have been missing.
I need to read those books my “twin” is sending me in our first installation of our mailbox book club instead of writing an e-mail to my editor on a Sunday night or Saturday morning when I’m off of work.
I need to live.
I’m breaking through, breaking free. Minute by minute, I can slowly feel all of this pressure coming off of my shoulders. I can feel a sense of relief. I can feel life.