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Letting Go

August 27, 2003

I am back at work after vacation, with six more weeks left of the job I have had for the past four years. The first thing I did when I had a spare moment at work was to start cleaning out my e-mail.

Information about a modem we support that I know inside and out. I will only need to remember it for six more weeks.

Delete.

Phone numbers for different support departments that I might need to call someday. I have never used them, and now I never will.

Delete.

Announcements of promotions of and kudos for my co-workers. After six weeks, Iíll never see them again.

Delete.

Documentation of discussions Iíve had with supervisors. After Iím gone, who cares?

Delete.

Life is full of changes, but I never hear anybody talk about the process of moving from one change to the next, the transition stage. I find this stage to be very freeing. For the next six weeks, I will be going through everything related to my soon-to-be-former job, saving a few mementos that have good memories attached or that I might need for legal reasons, but mostly discarding a lot of baggage.

And I do mean a lot of baggage. I am an information packrat just as much as I am a packrat for everything else. I have thousands of electronic files stored on the companyís computers and on my own, and I am sure I have several treesí worth of papers stuffed in boxes and drawers, all related to one aspect or another of my job. But with each file I delete or piece of paper I toss, I am pulling away a bit more from life as I have known it for the past four years. By the time I walk through the doors for the last time, yet another segment of my life will be behind me, and I will have a clean slate.

If only transitions worked so well in my personal life! I spent several days of my vacation going through boxes in my garage, boxes that have moved with me from place to place, even clear across the country. I want to go through everything and discard a lot, but itís so overwhelming! I wish that every time I had had a major life change, I had gone through everything in my life at the time, discarding the things that would no longer be relevant in the next phase of my life.

Thereís only one problem with that. A life change is not as clear-cut as a job change. I donít have to think twice to realize that information about a specific brand of modem or a company policy is not going to matter at my next job. But, in my personal life, I drag all my baggage along with me. Some of it is important to me, but some of it is just because I might need it ďsomeday.Ē After all, who knows what someday might bring? But itís gotten to be too much. Way, way too much.

And, so, during this transition stage, I am taking stock. If I canít have a fresh start in my personal life as well, maybe I can at least get rid of some of the baggage. Maybe in doing so I will find some of the things that are important to me, but have gotten buried, lost in the shuffle. I have already found a few surprises.

And tossed a few things.

But not nearly enough.

If anybody wants to know where to find me, Iíll be out in the garage going through boxes!