I’m leaving. No, not on a midnight train to Georgia.
I am, however, leaving CHOP and the job I’ve held for the past 12 years.
Today was my farewell party. I wore my cutest little skirt/top combo, thanks to Loehmann’s, and even put on some eye makeup (though I am horrible with my liquid liner). I went in all prepared that this was to be my goodbye, but still, my mind just wouldn’t accept that I won’t be working there much longer.
So much is going to change. The job, the very nature of what I do for a living is so incredibly different. No more patients. No more trying to save the world one kid at a time.
We also have to move from New Jersey closer to my West Point, PA office. On Friday I heard from my personal relocation consultant, and she is ready to get our house listed right away. Unfortunately our house is not ready to be listed, unless detritus and disorder will be big selling points. I think not.
I never felt that we truly moved into this house during the almost 3 years that we’ve been here. There were so many plans for when Mason got a job. We would paint, put up a fence, hiring a cleaning person, finish putting up the pictures after we finally got the furniture we wanted, finish the basement, get some curtains…you know…actually making the place ours. Here we are about to sell our cute little house before we ever truly claimed it.
And what about our new house to be? The Relo Consultant, as she has shortened her title, asked me what I wanted in the new house. Uh, a bigger kitchen. A fireplace. That was about all I could give her. You know why? Because none of this is REAL! This was all supposed to happen in theory. Sure I was hired by Merck for a great job. Sure I had to leave CHOP. But that was going to happen someday, not now. Yet all of a sudden, I’m having a farewell party.
You’ve probably gathered by now that I am not very good with transitions. I never had much security in my childhood and this has translated to my glomming on to people, places, and jobs and never wanting to let go. Of course I understood that residency and fellowship were finite periods of training. I still didn’t want to leave when it was all said and done. And this job…I would have stayed here until they kicked me out…and well they kinda did that. (Somehow the fine distinction between not being recommended for promotion and being fired is lost on me.)
But that isn’t quite true. I wanted to leave. Every time I went on-service, I ached to leave. I had lost my drive, my passion for this work. I was so very tired. I had become a burnout. Recognizing this, I told Don at the beginning of the year that I was going to leave. However, as I discovered, planning to leave and leaving are two very different things entirely.
Yes I started this year wanting to leave. I knew it was the best thing for me to do. I felt like an abject failure. I had lost my fire. I went from angry week on-service to sullenly underperforming with my research, to feeling crazed and overwhelmed as my schedulers played “how many kids can you cram into one overstressed schedule?” I felt horrible and couldn’t imagine another year feeling so dismal. But the next thing you know, with all the infertility drama, Mason’s ending up in rehab, and my life suddenly having the rug pulled out from under it, I thought that the familiar, no matter how dreary, was safer than yet another upheaval. The devil you know, and all that. Unfortunately CHOP didn’t agree. I had to go. It was like a line from an old Morris Day song, “You ain’t got to go home, but you got to get the hell out of here!” CHOP held the door open for me despite my protests. So yeah, I wanted to go initially, but that was different than having to go sans adequate mental preparation. I wasn’t ready for another change.
Thank God/Goddess/fate/my own skills that I landed on my feet after realizing that CHOP was serious about my getting the heck out of Dodge. I found a wonderful job for this next phase of my life. I’m moving on to something better. Better hours, better pay, better impact. I just wish I could just move on without leaving.
So back to today. My party was sweet. People from all over the hospital came. Everyone from my division to my knitting group. I was determined not to cry. Even when Don gave his great toast to me and the creativity and unique insight that I brought with me to CHOP, I didn’t cry. Part of me still didn’t believe that I was actually leaving. I can’t leave because I don’t have anywhere else to be. It just isn’t possible.
As things began to wind down this afternoon, though, it really started to sink in…I’m leaving and I’m scared shitless.
I wish I were one of those people who are eager for adventure and new experiences. But since I didn’t develop a sense of security in my life until adulthood, I will never be a person who rejects the secure for the unknown. I’ll have to be dragged kicking and screaming from my familiar but dismal job into a new and different career, one that actually might make me happy. Guess I’m just crazy that way.
I’m so scared that I want to puke.
Someone please help me figure out how to leave. How to just walk out the door and no longer belong. I’m supposed to leave, but I don’t know how.