My final day at the state agency was on Friday. As I pulled out of the parking lot into downtown Austin, I turned on the radio and sang along to whatever was on — it was probably something absolutely inappropriate for the occasion, like LMFAO or something. I can’t remember. I laughed to myself. I cried a little as I laughed, so overjoyed. I bought batteries for a wedding the next day and bounced all across the 108-degree black parking lot like it was a beautiful spring day.
You have no idea how amazing it feels to close a chapter of your life that didn’t really feel like “you.” Monday through Friday, forty hours a week, of arriving at a place and doing a function that doesn’t make sense to you. For over three years. You don’t know until you go through something like it yourself.
I’ve always told myself that I didn’t want to be a Charlotte Lucas. I didn’t want to be attached to something that is “good enough.” Certainly, that job was good enough to live on. It served a purpose of paying for our bills. But it was a Mr. Collins of a job — it was acceptable, to be sure, but it wasn’t a Mr. Darcy. (Yes, I’m making an allusion to Pride and Prejudice at this point — got a problem with that?!)
Walt had his belated birthday party that night and tons of our friends came out to see us. My throat hurt from all the talking we did. Someone told me, “I haven’t seen you this happy in, like, three years.”
“But I got married two and a half years ago. I was surely happy then.”
“Oh. Okay, well yeah, other than that, though…”
We went home and slept. Slept and slept. I helped out at a wedding and discovered a hole in a new shirt. My throat felt worse than ever but I was buoyant. Life was suddenly more amazing. This is my new reality. One of my cameras broke — a known issue with that model that finally got the best of me that night — but that barely fazed me. Grabbed my backup and shot the sparkler exit. Came home, drank a few glasses of water, and zonked.
Monday morning was the first day of “work.” Amazingly, my very full day had very little to do with photos and much to do about everything else. We’d been neglecting the apartment for the past month, as Walt started his new job and I continued with my old one, so I cleaned grout from the bathtub and swept cat hair off the floors. Took out two bags of garbage out, and two bags of donations to Goodwill. Sent my broken camera off to be repaired and paid bills. Exchanged my torn shirt for a new one. Participated in a silly promotion on Twitter and actually won two tickets to a movie showing this weekend. Fell asleep on the couch and woke up in time to get ready for a potential client meeting. Ate handfuls of dark chocolate chips from the freezer and pet the kitties. It was one of the best Mondays I’ve had in a long time.
And this morning I woke up with a runny nose, sore throat, and a headache. You know what? It’s all good.
Ring from Catbird NYC, a gift from Walt for marking this new chapter. I plan to wear it on my shooting finger.
Aptly used lyrics for the title of this post come from Quiet Company’s “You, Me & the Boatman” off their album We Are All Where We Belong… I’ve been loving that album lately. Listen to the song here.