Tomorrow will be my last day at work for a very long time. This is a day I’ve anticipated to some degree or another for years — whether I assumed I’d come back to work after having a baby or daydreamed about staying home.

I’m of two minds about it right now; in a theoretical, big-picture sense I am really sad about saying goodbye to my dream job. But in a practical, day-to-day sense I know it’s the right choice for me. I just find myself wishing that it didn’t have to be.

Today I took a few pictures of my office, just to remember the view I’ve enjoyed for the last few years.

In case you can’t tell from this picture, my office is about the size of a large broom closet, and it has no windows. I usually tell clients it’s just “cozy”, but it can get kind of cramped in there. The blue ball is an exercise ball I’ve been sitting on off and on for the last few months — very comfortable! Opposite the desk is a large bookshelf with all my files on it and the wall with the lamp has two more chairs for clients and visitors.

The view over my desk. I like it. I’m going to miss it.

As you can see I am a big Pandora fan. Baby and I are going to dance around a lot to my Britney Spears station when we’re at home together.

As much as half of me has looked forward to stopping work the last few months, the other half of me has been in denial about what this really means. For a long time, I put a lot of stock in my professional identity; when I wasn’t working in the social work field, I struggled with really feeling like I knew who I was professionally, and I have really felt at home in this job. I truly love being a social worker and hopefully one day I’ll be able to have that as part of my identity again.

I feel especially fortunate that what has turned out to be a very tumultuous few years in my personal life have overlapped with a really wonderful time in my professional career. While I’ve never been the kind of person who feels like work is what keeps them sane, this office has been a really safe place for me during some really difficult times. I always knew what to expect when I came to work (usually some variant on the unexpected) and that never wavered, even when everything outside these walls became unfamiliar. So I am really sad to be leaving that behind. I am not a workaholic at all, but work has, in a sense, been an escape for me in these last few years and I will really miss that.

One thing these last few years have taught me, though, is not to make what I do who I am. I may have been employed as a social worker, but I am much more than that! Still, it is really weird to think about leaving not this job, but leaving the workplace. Obviously there are things I won’t miss — right now the big thing is packing a lunch; for some reason I really hate doing that — but in the end, that list is pretty short. Maybe one day I will come back to the workforce, and if I do I am pretty sure I know where I want to wind up.

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