Last day

One spring night in 2008, I worked late at the office. I’d only been at my new job at SDSU a few months and was still not content with my decision to move back to South Dakota and leave the newspaper business. I can’t even remember what project kept me at work till 8 p.m., but I do remember leaving that night. As I walked to my car, I felt a rush of wind hit my face along with a piece of reassurance. I knew then that I was where I needed to be.

Today, I was climbing the steps of our three-floor office building and was caught off guard by a ray of sunshine coming in from the window. The white light dazzled on the gray concrete, giving the stairwell a beauty I had never seen. It was after 5 p.m. and I felt that surge of reassurance. I was meant to be right there.

It’s 7 p.m. and this office is quiet. It’s not uncommon for me to be the only one in the building, working well into the evening. It’s been my habit for the last 10 months, but on this night is different. The photos, notes and small mentos of inside jokes are longer posted on my bulletin board and cupboards. The rich cherry color of my desk can actually be seen. And it’s the last time I’ll sit in this chair, looking at this screen, typing on this keyboard.

Today is my last day at the Foundation. I’ve said all of my goodbyes and have turned in my building keys and parking passes. The tears want to come out, but I refuse to let them. I am not ready to process this as the end, just like my coworkers who can’t say goodbye and settle on a “see you around” or “have a good evening.” It’s still too real to admit.

My next job will be more than 6,000 miles away and probably won’t come with a nice desk, creative software and a snuggie. It will be a different job, once that requires a different skill set, but I am ready.

I’ve loved this job, my coworkers and, mostly, my boss and I will miss everyone. But today, my last day on the job, I know that I needed this one in order to do the next. And that’s why I can’t cry. Leaving is not sad, but comforting in knowing I’m on the right path.

Even more so than when I started this job 28 months ago, I am a very, very proud Jackrabbit.

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