Today is my last day of paid employment for maybe up to a year. Note I didn’t say my last day of “work,” since my sabbatical is intended to be the work of finding myself and moving toward a more fulfilling future. I have plenty to get done yet today so I’m sure I’ll be at the office all day.
I thought I might feel more excited than I do about the prospects. Instead, I feel slightly hesitant. This will be the first time since 1977 that I have not had work to go to every day. Even when I was on maternity leave, I knew what I was going back to. And when I freelanced after Gabe was born, I had work lined up for weeks ahead of time. But that time was truly some of the best I ever had. Not only did I make more money working part-time than I had full time, but I was working for myself, shopped when the aisles at the grocery store were not crowded, attended daytime school events with the kids, and just spent time being a wife and mother. I knew where I belonged. It was what I had been raised to do, and it fits me. Then.
Now, today, this minute, I’m not sure where I belong. I’m no longer a wife, my kids are grown with children of their own – miles and miles away, and I have nowhere I have to be on any given day, nothing particular I must do. I expected a feeling of happy release, but instead, I feel alone.