One of the things that I will miss the most after leaving for a new job is the colleagues in my department, who have been great to work with over the past five years. At the end of the semester they had a going away party for me and now that my office on campus is empty, I’m not sure when I will see them again. It has been hard to say goodbye, but the process has been made more difficult by all of our unpredictable summer schedules. While I was in my office cleaning and packing, for example, every time that I saw somebody could have been the last time. This meant that every time we said goodbye might have been the last. And then the next day I would see them again and we would repeat the process.
Overall, the past few weeks have been a bit like saying goodbye to somebody in a parking lot and then realizing that you parked in the same area and need to walk awkwardly next to each other since your goodbyes have already been said. On the other hand, this process of drawn-out potentially-final-potentially-not-final goodbyes has likely made it easier to leave. When somebody walked by my office door to head home for the day I could say, “I’ll see you later!” because the possibility existed that I would see them the next day, even though the state of my office made that increasingly unlikely.
Now that I’m not going to campus anymore (and have, indeed, turned in my keys), I’m not sure whether or not I will see anybody before I leave. Maybe I won’t, and the last goodbye really was final. Or maybe I’ll see them at the grocery store or at a World Cup party. The possibilities are endless.