I look back.
I look back on my first day. Because, yes, I remember my very first day here. I vividly remember driving on the 5 freeway and blaring my radio, singing along without even caring if anyone saw how into it I was. I had a legitimate office job now, and I didn't care about anything else that day.
I look back on my old boss taking me to lunch for my birthday one year. We went to some place in Fullerton and I felt like the most special person in the world because someone who wasn't my family or a close friend was treating me to lunch. I forget what I ordered, but I remember that it was delicious.
I look back on the days when I used to wear pajamas and no make-up to work, since I was alone a lot. Then, Brooke from my high school wandered into our unit by some freak chance- looking for a different building- and I was mortified that I looked like such a hobo. I never came to work like that again, because you just never know.
I look back on all of the run-ins with "The Homeless Guy" who my boss hired to come in and help clean around the office. I can't tell you how many people have told me I should write a book about him. This is a guy who, for example, once showed me the giant Grim Reaper tattoo on his chest and told me that if I got a huge tattoo like his, no one would notice my scar after my surgery. There are just too many ridiculous scenarios... maybe one day I'll write them all on here.
I look back on the day I figured out that my boss was a movie buff like me. Up until then, we never really talked. I had finally found something to relate to him on! Since then, we've started going to lunch fairly often and talking about Game of Thrones or the latest movie releases. Figuring out a common ground formulated a sort of friendship that I look back on with a smile.
This job has seen me through boyfriends, houses, cars, surgeries, and countless phone calls with news both good and bad. I can remember sitting in this office chair and finding out that my sister had gone into Cardiac Arrest. This is the chair I sat in when my tumor burst and I had to be taken to the ER. I found out about a few of my nieces and nephews while sitting here. I've laughed with my co-workers and I've cried over heartbreaks in this chair. I've been so bored that I've spun in circles, videotaping my feet, in this chair. I've done office yoga next to it. I've played with three puppies and one cat while sitting in this chair.
This job has been my longest relationship. It's taught me more about myself than any friend or boyfriend ever has. I came here as this naive little kid, really. I didn't feel very capable, or terribly smart, and I made some pretty dumb choices on the regular. I guess I just didn't think I COULD do or be more than I was.
Now I know that I can. It's been through this that I've learned that I am actually pretty smart. I'm better with people than I assumed. Things I previously would have been terrified to try at, now I know I am fully capable of accomplishing. I learned about confrontation here, and how to assert myself as someone worth listening to. This job has transformed me in so many ways that it seems strange to imagine my life without it.
And I guess... I guess there's a final lesson for it to teach me, now.
Leaving gracefully and looking back with appreciation and love. There have been a LOT of days when I wasn't sure I had it in me to stay here. But there have also been a lot of days when I was overcome with gratitude for this place and the people in it. Leaving something doesn't mean that you have to look back on it as a shadow of your past. Moving on with your life doesn't diminish where you've been. If anything, I think it kind of increases the value of the places you've been, the people you've experienced, and the changes you've made.
I look back with love.