Today is my second to last day of work. In a few hours, I'll be unemployed and homeless. It's exactly how I always planned my life going.
I've been at the Herald now for more than four years. I've almost quit twice. (I've actually quit once -- I worked here before my mission too. I still have the card somewhere. Two of the same people signed both cards.) There's always been a reason to stay before -- but now I've reached the point here where it's time to move on. I mean, I'm 31 and I've only worked at one place since college. No, I'm not counting Target.
The week started with taking my old, never used, badly in need of a loving fix bike to the secondhand shop. Well, trying to take. See, that bike that needs to be tuned up every couple of weeks is my dad's. He loved biking. It's a piece of him. Getting rid of it felt like betrayal.
I overcame the sentimentality within 24 hours; Dad is a very practical guy who would see no point in hauling around something I wasn't going to use. Still, it made me feel better when the guy at the secondhand store said people come in all the time to buy, fix up and use bikes like that. It made me feel like it got a second life. It's sort of like an organ donation and Dad would get to keep biking.
Then I got rid of my drums. I've been trying to sell them for months; as much as I loved feeling like a rock star, I haven't played them in a couple of years and drums are an entire carload while moving. But after two people made an appointment to see them and then stood me up (people suck), I gave them to a coworker. Everything else is going into two piles -- stuff I can't live without while I live out of my car/friend's couches for what is hopefully just a few days to a couple weeks, and everything else.
Today was my last column. There was no way I could sum up what I wanted to, but I tried. Reading the comments this morning almost made me cry. People appreciated the differing ideas more than I realized. People who agreed with me were glad to know they weren't alone. People who didn't agree with me liked having the different viewpoint. The one guy who said he was glad to see me go immediately got jumped on by the other commenters. One person who emailed the publisher said she'd be unsubscribing because my column was what made the paper worthwhile. One man who called me wanted to know what he could do to talk me into staying.
Then at work today, in place of the department meeting we were supposed to have, we had a surprise going away party. I actually thought I'd gotten out of the going away party; tomorrow is our annual start of college football season party, which is a big deal around here, so we were partying already and that was good enough for me. But we had the party. And it was nice. A lot of not good things have happened at the paper this year. I appreciated the reminder of why I liked it here.
And, amidst all of this, I found myself seized with the fear that I was making a huge mistake. But then I realized it's just graduation goggles.
By way of explanation — I do not at this point have another job. I'm waiting on a couple of opportunities in Utah, and if neither of those pan out I'll be heading elsewhere — probably Portland, but maybe somewhere else. It's really exciting, in an occasionally nauseating sort of way. Because I'd planned to either have a job or be gone by the end of August, I didn't arrange any housing. So here I am, in one of the weirdest situations I've gotten myself into to date.