Life is a funny thing. It runs along, and runs along, and we all make it through each day, and then suddenly big changes happen. And even though they may be long anticipated, there always seems to be a surprise when they finally come to pass.
I made a decision last June that I would leave my position in the university. It was a firm decision, though I didn’t know what I was leaving to go to, apart from doing more writing, of course.
Anyway, it was a decision, and it was firm, I was going to work until the end of my two contracts and then that would be it.
My first contract, the teaching contract, finished in December. I shed many tears after my last class, and then found that I didn’t miss the teaching nearly as much as I thought I would.
Then I fell into the new routine of two days at university per week, working on papers and helping my remaining PhD student to get his thesis together. It all got very comfortable. I started my new editing business and I collected a nice number of customers. I had a new direction to head in. I launched my books. Life was going along well.
But, as it turns out, it’s was going along well towards the edge of a cliff.
Next week is my last week at university. Next week this chapter in my life comes to an end. And I think that it doesn’t matter how much you prepare yourself for this kind of thing, when it happens, it’s a shock.
A couple of weeks ago the chemistry department held a prize giving event, and as part of that I was thanked for my teaching and given a beautiful pearl pendant necklace. Yesterday we had a proper farewell lunch (shared with a beloved colleague who is also leaving) with gifts of flowers and wine and chocolate, and a HUGE cake. Next week, on my very last day at the uni, there will be another lunch from another part of the department to say goodbye.
It’s long anticipated, but it also feels like it has come up quickly. I have been preparing for this time for the last year, but at the same time there will be major adjustments to make. I’m ready to leave academic life, but at the same time, academia was a dream that I invested so much in and giving up that dream is still hard. I’m looking forward to leaving, but I will miss the camaraderie, the friends and colleagues, and probably even the work. And no matter how much we all say we’ll stay in touch, the fact is that things will change.
I won’t have much time to dwell on it though. I formally finish work on Friday the 15th and at 7am on Saturday the 16th I will be in a plane heading to LA. Not because I want to see LA, as such, but to visit my beloved sister, the wonderful Catherine Joy (of Catherine Joy Music – check her out on Facebook). That also has been long planned and long anticipated but to actually have it happening now feels … well it feels big. Especially getting up at 3am or whatever on Saturday. I don’t want to think about that part of it.
So yes, life is changing for me. In a big way. I look forward to sharing the ups and downs of the new life with you all, and I hope you enjoy hearing about my new small adventures.
I’m hoping that my life can become the quiet life that I long for.
I tell you one thing, I feel so very blessed, so incredibly privileged to be able to even attempt this change. I know that this jump into the unknown is only possible for me because I was born in this country, I was born white, the government loaned me the money for my university studies and paid me to undertake them, and many other blessings through the years that are in no way dependent on what I’ve done. I am so grateful.
So I hope to help others with the privilege I’ve been given. And to make good use of the time I have in the years ahead. Here’s to new (quiet) adventures!