All of a sudden, my desk at work isn't my desk any more. I'm 4 weeks from finishing up at my job, and a replacement has started. A replacement that I dearly hoped that we would find in a timely manner, yet whose presence has me feeling unsettled and leaving me to hop between empty desks for the remainder of my time. Am I excited that in 4 short weeks I'll be starting a new chapter (at least for the foreseeable future) as a stay-at-home Mum? More than anything. But it turns out that the process of closing the previous chapter isn't actually as easy as I thought it would be. In fact, I'm more than a little bit heart broken to be leaving. This job and I have had our ups and downs - it started as my former boss warning me that if I wanted to come back and work for the Church after a 2-year break, I would need to do "a little bit of finance" as part of my role (knowing that last time, finance was the thorn in my side) but it became my heart beat, a job that I gradually built myself, that I loved, that I learned so much from, and that I'm damn good at. Not to mention the amazing work environment, and some of the fantastic people that I work with.
For the next year, I won't be unlocking the giant creaky gate at the side of the building at 7 in the morning, flicking on the lights and putting together a breakfast of porridge or avocado toast and tea to gulp down while I check my emails in the quiet, empty office. I won't be watching the clock, waiting for the different time check-points when I expect each of my colleagues to arrive. I won't be taking screen breaks at reception to clear my head or keenly watching the office kitchenette for the arrival of home baked cakes and biscuits. I won't be whipping through data entry or feeling the immense satisfaction of an empty filing tray. I'll be in my house, catering to our little boy, re-heating cups of tea that have gone cold and missing the extra income that my job provides. But I have no doubt at all that I will love every moment of it.
It's a strange thing to face a big gap in work, when I have worked in some capacity or another since my first job at the age of 16, washing dishes in a tea room. I've never committed fully to study (two semi-baked degrees to my name, baby) but I've always been a dedicated worker. And now? I won't be - at least not in the same way. The more I come to terms with it, the stranger a reality it's becoming.