Yesterday was my last day at work. That had been the plan for a long time. I was looking forward to saying good-bye, moving on, taking a new position with new challenges and giving my life the kick in the right direction that it has been waiting for.
As befits a last day, there were leaving-dos and words of farewell. There were also unexpected good-luck and we'll-miss-you gestures that were as simple as they were touching. On Thursday, the group went for drinks till late (by London working-day standards). Yesterday, we had lunch together. I enjoyed both a lot, particularly so since they were rather undeserved.
While I've talked about leaving London for about two years now, I'm not actually doing it. I'm staying here, at least for the moment. I've found a new job, but it's not exactly adventurously novel. It's what I've been doing for the last half year besides my research. Now I'll do it full time, leaving research to play a distant second fiddle, at least until it get the facility I'll be in charge of running smoothly.
Yesterday was my last day at work, but I'm not leaving. On Monday, I'll be in a different lab but still at the same university. I will be a different building but on the same floor as before and won't have to change my routine much. I'll still press 5 in the elevator. I'll even keep my old desk, in case I crave the company of so many years, and my locker, and I'll keep playing football with the same guys.
Not much is changing, in other words, but I feel a profound sadness, the sadness I've experienced many times before. It is unquestionably the sadness of leaving, though it obviously can't be. I can only interpret it as the sadness of not leaving, a much deeper pain because it doesn't come with the excitement of the new and the realization of dreams.
Monday will be my first day at work. I will be doing a job that I've convinced myself over the years is the right kind of job for me, a job that matches my skills and inclinations and the visions that I have of myself much better than the slog of research. It's a job where I can make a real difference quickly, sort things out and make my mark. The alarm will sound sweet on Monday.