The past few weeks have made me a specialist in the art of saying goodbye. Or rather, not saying goodbye. I’ve done a great job of avoiding most of the tears and heart wrenching finality that usually accompany goodbyes. Finality is a powerful feeling, and we put so much pressure on ourselves to say and do all the right things to make our last physical encounter equal the level of emotion and significance we feel inside.
Truth is, it’s not our last encounter. And if it is, then by the time we’ve both figured that out, it won’t seem nearly so sad. At least that’s what I’ve been telling myself. What really happened was that in all my planning to leave Boston, I never really grasped how deeply my departure would impact so many people. Last Monday I felt like a swooning dame in an old movie, getting slapped across the face by some Bogart type telling me to snap out of it. As clients and coworkers alike showered me with gifts and heartfelt cards, it struck me just how deeply I had denied the significance of leaving the people I saw every single day. I was consumed by the difficulty of leaving my city, my best friends, my newlywed sister and brother-in-law and a mountainous to do list that seemed to grow with every day. But when my last session had been trained and my locker was all cleaned out, I faced what turned out to be one of the saddest goodbyes of all.
See, we all have jobs (except me right now) and we all have grievances about those jobs. For me, the tedium of corporate management was nothing compared to the ungodly wake up time (4:55, thank you) and constant stream of over played, unoriginal auto-tuned pop music. I dreamed of a day when I would never know sleep deprivation. I seriously envied those people who, when I would mention some torturous new Black Eyed Peas song, would look at me blankly say something like, “oh, I never listen to the radio.” To that end, I went so far as to subject my boyfriend to this horrifying video, just so someone else could suffer. He lasted about 45 seconds, by the way.
But I have to say, it was really hard to leave that place. I grew more and more shaky with each goodbye on that last day. Before I left for the last time, I stood there taking in one long, last look at what had been my second home for almost four years. My eyes squinted against the midday sunlight flooding the fitness floor, my ears were filled with the whirring of cardio equipment and the faint melodies of Taylor Swift or someone (I always secretly turned the music way down), and I felt such a rush of emotion bubbling up into my throat and down into my knees that I thought I might not make it onto the T.
But I did. I made it home, I finished packing, I drove a giant truck all the way down to North Carolina. I said many more goodbyes, but I never felt like I gave my job a proper farewell. And so, here it is: Goodbye, Healthworks. Thank you for your place in my life. I am really going to miss you. Even your shitty soundtrack.