Ten months to the day after I left my office for the last time pre-lockdown, I went back. I walked into the building a new person in a new world. The city was different and I felt different even though everything looked just as I had left it.
Same office space, different perspective.
I am not ready to go back to work in my office downtown, nor is the office open for that. However, pre-pandemic, we were working on changing the layout of our space. That process halted in March 2020, but with vaccines giving hope of return, the work is starting again. Everyone was asked to come in to collect all of our belongings (this was done in an incredibly safe manner—I was the only person on my entire floor while I was there and I was masked).
After 10 months of working from home, I sat in my desk chair looking at the city view from my office window and I felt sad. I longed for the “me” that had cleaned off my desk so many months ago thinking I would see it again soon. I mourned the person who was naïve about what life would look like in the coming weeks and months. That person was a wreck thinking that my kids would be home from school for TWO WHOLE WEEKS. I laughed at her for that.
The city around my office has changed so much.
I was also sad for my city. As I drove in, I saw store front after store front boarded up to protect the glass. I saw favorite restaurants closed due to a lack of customers in an area that was previously bustling with lunchtime traffic. The sidewalks were nearly empty with just a few people having reason to be there.
When it was time to leave, I had trouble willing myself to walk out again. This time I knew. What I knew was actually that there is absolutely no way I understand what life will look like in the next 10 months. It was long ago that I stopped saying that life would get back to normal. On the plus side, I no longer worry so much about what will happen because I have learned that things change too quickly and drastically to make any future decisions now. Life will never be exactly the same as it was. Some things will be better. Other things we will miss.
Understanding the role of change.
As I turned around for one last look at my now empty office, I understood that it was an end. An end to working at that desk with that view and a goodbye to the person who sat there. But with every end comes a beginning. The city will be different and I will be different. That change opens us both up to growth and new opportunities. If I have learned anything over the past 10 months, it is that I can do hard things, I can find joy in dark times and no matter how set in my ways I think I am, I can change.