Not well-known for my reflective pauses, I find I have reached one naturally without trying. It occurred to me in the bathroom this morning as I was cleaning my teeth that for the first time since I left work, just under two months ago, the need to drive forward has relaxed a little now as we begin to see we have somewhere to go. I found myself thinking about friends and work colleagues - I was going to say 'past and present' but I mean those I worked with most recently and those I worked with many years ago. I think it has begun to sink in that I will really be leaving.
I kept saying that leaving work would not be hard because those I was closest to would always be friends and we would stay in touch because of that. I am still in touch with others who left to work elsewhere or who had to leave for health or personal reasons. And they - you - still all mean a lot to me. I don't think it will be any harder to do the 'staying in touch' bit even if I am in Spain - but the call to say, 'fancy lunch next week' won't come any more; I won't hear the latest gossip or bits of information; I won't bump into someone as I go shopping. Ever.
In the last week, I have had lunch or a coffee - with a number of very dear friends and they all know how excited and happy I am that our plans are beginning to come together and that we will be off, most likely, within the next ten weeks or so. What has hit me today is that it will actually be a huge trauma for me to leave you all. I think if I say it here, I will perhaps be able to deal with it a little better as time goes on. It IS what I want to do - what I think our family should do - from that perspective, I have no qualms at all. But.. and maybe this is the selfish bit.. I am 'giving up' my own access to a wide circle of very close friends - many of whom have known me for a long time and who know a great deal about me and my life - so I just wanted to say this very clearly: I will be trying very hard - and will probably succeed - in making this move look easy, great fun and a fantastic adventure. Underneath, I know how much I will miss everyone and how precious the memories and the links to each one of my friends are to me. I will be metaphorically wrapping everyone up to take with me and I am already cherishing the day when I have the proper time to unwrap each one and make them real again after this rather surreal period.
So - whilst not yet gone and not yet forgotten - my little period of reflection has served me to say to everyone reading this that I will be taking all those precious little moments of memory and friendship that we have shared and in a strange way, if I didn't have them to take with me then the leaving would be even harder. I do hope that makes sense.