I think about it on my early morning commute in the quiet, reflective indigo of dawn that promises nothing. Sometimes I think about it on the crowded and frenetic bus ride back home, remnants of an exhausted self, staring blankly out the window – the exact moment I announce to the boss I’m finally quitting the social work field after a cumulative span of thirteen years. I’ve thought of this scene before, especially after a particularly vicious day, but it was more of a hopeful daydream than this tangible, creeping finality. It’s coming…just one month away.
I approach his door slow and methodical, waving innocuously at him through the office window as he sits there, feet planted lazily on his cluttered desk. He casually motions me inside with a quick jerk of his hand. One of the first things I notice is the tilting wall calendar stuck on June, ‘08, for some unclear reason. “What’s up, Montgomery,” he says with paradoxical tones of nonchalance and impatience. “Well,” I sigh nervously, staring at the alarming number of pens scattered across his desk, “I wanted to give you the unofficial warning before I put my notice to HR.”
“No, no, not you too,” he mutters, me being the third counselor to quit in the last two months. I reply with an awkward shrug. “No, no, it’s a good thing,” I try reassuring him, “my wife and I have been planning this trip for a long time, actually.” Then I consider talking about our shared dreams and yen for travel, about the map on our bedroom wall decorated with gold stickers of all the places we want to visit, but instead I decide to just sit quietly and wait for a segue or veiled compliment. “I’m jealous, man, I wish I could travel nowadays,” he says finally, perhaps a story of “the one that got away” swirling around on his tongue, but he too becomes quiet, deciding to shake his head slowly with vague disbelief.
Sometimes I think about my last day too. Of walking away finally, the overhead oak branches waving congratulatory shadows as I hurry past the administration building and staff parking lot. My heart pounds as I near the bus stop one final time. Closer and closer. I like to think these things when it seems there’s nothing but the JOB crowding my mind. I like to daydream these moments when I begin to feel beaten down by the storm of anxiety that drops down around me. These thoughts keep me planning and dreaming, keep me motivated, forcing me to keep perspective when I need it most – feeling ready and downright giddy to do something far greater than the JOB and its subsequent tedious routines. These thoughts creep into my head like a favorite song or just remembered dream. Closer and closer. A smile creeps conspiratorially over my face.