Today I went to my undergraduate place of employment to visit with my former supervisors and pick up my friend/former coworker for lunch.
I worked there from the week after I graduated high school until about two weeks before I began graduate school. Nearly four and a half years of my life were spent at that job. Yet I’ve only set foot into that office twice since I left my position there…once for lunch with another coworker and once for lunch with my supervisors. And both of those instances were within like three months of leaving my position.
So, today was pretty much the first time I had been there in nearly two years. I walked in, and my friend was sitting at the front desk. I came right in and started chatting with her. It was like those two years away had completely dissolved, and I was reporting for work as usual. In fact, I almost went right behind the front desk like I would’ve done back in the day.
Then, I caught myself. I couldn’t go behind the desk. I didn’t belong behind the desk anymore. I hadn’t belonged there for quite some time.
I then proceeded through the office to stop by my former supervisor’s cubicle. Others came by to say hello, ask what I’ve been up to, and send me well wishes. I was surrounded by friendly and familiar faces in a place that seemed to be frozen in time. I felt like I had been transported back to summer of 2014 and that, in a lot of ways, nothing had changed.
But everything’s changed.
While the office has the illusion of being frozen in time, it isn’t identical to when I left. People have left and people have come. Cubicle owners have shifted around. There’s a new fancy vending machine in the lobby selling school supplies (!). There are definite differences.
More importantly, though, I’ve changed. I’m in no way the same person I was when I walked out of that office two years ago. I’m older, more mature, and more confident. I have a much better sense of who I am and what I want to do with my life. I’ve found my purpose. And when I thought about this today, I realized that I have finally, truly moved on. I don’t belong there anymore, and that’s okay.
Sure, that chapter in my life is officially closed, but that only means I’m on to new adventures.