Brace yourselves, everyone, because this coming week, it's going to start sinking in that I'm on the verge of retirement. I've already started thinking the phrase "This is the last time I'll...." Some snuck up on me, because I didn't know the bench schedule for the coming week. I've already worked the Enterics bench for the last time. I've run my last batch of PCR tests. I've more than likely pulled my last positive blood culture. I've identified my last roundworm. We didn't have a meeting last week, and I'm off this Tuesday, so I've already experienced my last departmental meeting. (I'm not overly sad about that one, although meetings aren't as bad as they were under the previous manager...they'd go on for an hour and a half, and absolutely nothing would be accomplished. There were times when I was concerned for my sanity.)
Pam brought in a cheesecake today for my "last weekend." Aww, that was so sweet of her! (The cheesecake was sweet, too!) Thanks, Pam! Today I worked my last Saturday.
When my pal Jim came in at 3 PM, he was asking me if I was getting excited, or all happy and giddy, or what. I said, "You know, it's actually kind of the opposite." As I started talking, I started tearing up and said, "I keep getting choked up, and see? I'm doing it right now! Shut up, dammit!" Then we laughed, but he knew what I meant. We had a nice little talk about how it feels to do something for so long, and will I miss it? I said sure I would, and I'll still find it interesting--I have a book about Yellow Fever in my stack to read--but I won't have the daily grind to deal with. We talked about Carol, who after 40+ years in Microbiology, retired a few years ago. She's having a ball, and I said I think it's because she has so many diverse interests (not to mention helping a lot of her elderly friends). Carol never had the attitude that Microbiology was the entirety of her life, any more than my Dad ever felt that he had nothing but the National Guard in his life. From what I've seen of people I know who have retired, a healthy interest in many things and a general curiosity about life is necessary for a happy adjustment from working to...NOT. I think I'm okay in that area.
We were planning on getting together after work on my last day, but Jillian is working evenings and said, "I'd really like to be there..." and I said, "I want to you be there, too!" So we agreed to plan something when it works for the most who want to go. After all, most of my days will be free for the moment!
It's starting to sink in....