Well I did it. I finally broke the last remaining threat that had tied me to where I used to work. I have cut away the anchor and have set myself adrift.
For more years that I can remember, I had money taken out of my paycheck and deposited into a savings account at a local credit union. That money came in handy many times. For Christmas gifts, to pay property tax, to loan money to my son to pay for speeding tickets. Normal stuff.
Then the pandemic cost me my job. I left that savings alone thinking when they called me back, I would continue to put money into that. Weeks passed, months passed, then one day I was told that I wasn’t getting my old job back after all. I still held out hope that what I had been told, was incorrect. Now, here we are, closing in on the one year anniversary of losing my job. Back in October, I went ahead and made the call to retire. When the unemployment had run out and no call back had come, I made the decision. I drew my first check in November, I’m still waiting on a second.
Today, I accepted that it was really, truly, finally done and over. They are not going to call me back, the job is history. So, I talked my son into driving me up to the credit union since he knew where it had moved its operations. We get there, and of course you can’t go inside. We pull around to the drive through and get in line. It moved fairly quickly. When it came my turn I explained what I wanted to do, she told me what they needed and within moments, it was done. My son counted the money while I signed the papers they required. Pulling away, there was the slightest tinge of sadness. So close. I was so close to making it thirty years there. If I had only made it to August. But, Covid prevented that.
I do accept that I have known for months, maybe from the beginning, that they weren’t going to call me back. There are reasons but none are important at this point. Right now, part of me feels as if I have wasted those near thirty years. The things I could have done, could have become, could have accomplished. Then the other part offers a sad smile and tells me that nothing, no time, no effort, no accomplishments, no matter how minor they may seem, is a waste.
In all of that time, I learned many things. I learned how to get along with a variety of people and personalities. I learned the best ways to get people to understand and do the job assigned to them. I learned how to take raw materials and create something functional and even pretty. I walked away from there with many talents and much knowledge. None of that is a waste.
I learned that I didn’t mind getting dirty. I could do some of the same things the technicians did, and some things better. It wasn’t unusual to see me flat on my back sliding across the floor replacing a belt. Walking away from a machine with grease up to my elbows, but the machine was running. I made mistakes, but I caught and prevented mistakes. I got up before the rooster and was walking into the plant before the dawn. We worked long hard hours, but I believe it helped keep me physically fit. The challenge of creating, the focus and concentration required, the eye for making sure everything was as it should be. I was once told, watch for all that is right, then the wrong will glare out at you. All of the requirements, even as I walked out of there exhausted every day, had their benefits.
Some weeks were the regular forty hours, others were longer. We worked ten hour days, There wasn’t much time left for anything after all of those hours.
I do miss it in a way.
Now I have all the time in the world, no money, but plenty of time. But then, I don’t need money to go hiking. I don’t need money to sit on the bank of the pond, watch the ripples and listen to the birds. I don’t need money to sit by the fire pit and watch the flames. I don’t need money to sit on the front porch and watch the dogs play, or the rain falling, or the lightening bugs play.
I miss seeing the people that I had worked with for so long. We rarely saw each other away from work, but we were a team. There was a bond formed. The working together, the talking, the jokes, the accomplishments, the friendships.
There was a regiment to the job. The set schedule of my days. From shutting off the alarm in the morning and beginning, to setting the alarm last thing at night. Now, the only day there is a set time for me to be somewhere is Sunday and church.
I have spent almost a year with that tiny, maybe, in the back of my head. That little bit of possibility that remained. Today, I let that go. Today, that final, single, fragile thread, was broken. The last remaining physical bond, is no more. Now I can work more on finalizing the mental separation. I need to move on.
There are other adventures to be had. There are other mistakes to be made and corrected, as I work toward the next destination. There are many new roads waiting to be traveled. There are new friendships waiting to be made and bonds to be formed. There are untold number of things I can do. Maybe I can learn a new hobby, increase my knowledge of an old one. I can work on that manuscript, I can dream and I can believe.
I did in a way feel as if I was forced to take early retirement, so I could be here for my parents. I don’t regret that one bit. It would have been nice to be better prepared, but things will work out. I’ve been upset, I’ve been angry. I’ve been very resentful for the way things happened. But now, I have gone a long way toward releasing a lot of that. Especially since the one thing that had been holding me back, is no more. I spent time today, taking that step, and making it final.