The Mayans were right about the end of the world - at least concerning my career.
I left my job on Friday. I've been working for more than a year and a half at my first "real" job, and it felt very odd to leave. It was very exciting walking in the door the first time. Then the rhythm of the daily grind set in, and it became second nature to pop in and out of the office.
And now, after twenty months, it finally came time to depart. The act of leaving itself was surprisingly simple; I cleaned out my cubicle and took a quick tour of the office to say goodbye to some close friends, and then... left without looking back. Maybe the realization will hit me later that I am gone for good. It hasn't yet.
But leaving will hurt in more personal ways. Saying goodbye to my coworkers, whom I've spent a long time in the trenches with, was very difficult, mostly because I couldn't adequately express to them how thankful I was for their presence and their support. Good men and women are pleasant to be around, and I had many pleasant conversations with my coworkers. I'm not the easiest man to get along with, and they bore my quirks with grace and good humor.
But now, the bond of kinship wrought by close proximity is to be tested. I have found that farewells are strangely permanent events. Everyone promises to stay in touch and visit, and maybe in a few cases, this actually happens. But what usually happens is that people drift away, and friendships are sundered by separation. Yes, Facebook, e-mail, cell phones, (and now Twitter) creates the illusion of connectedness. But aside from a few stray "likes" and the occasional e-mail, the wall of coldness wrought by separation is erected. Former friends become strangers.
I know that people move on with their lives to bigger and better things. I know that others must increase, while I must decrease. And God knows that I am a master of burning bridges. But friendships are meant to endure. If any of my friends at the office read this - here's hoping this goodbye marks merely a change in proximity.