I’m sitting at my almost-empty desk, staring at my actually-empty inbox and wondering how to fill, or not fill, my last hour at work before starting maternity leave.
I’ve rerecorded my voicemail greeting and rewritten my out of office reply- both of which basically now say “not today thankyou”. I’ve conducted an archeological dig of my desk, revealing layer upon layer of documents which really ought to have been archived properly months ago (and now are). And I’ve eaten far too many biscuits, which I brought in to the office to mark my departure.
I could be gone for a year. A year! And I’m trying to work out whether I feel at all sad about this. I don’t think I do, actually.
The only thing, in fact, which makes me feel slightly wistful, is how all-consuming my working life has been, and yet how easily I’m slipping out of it. It makes me wonder whether I’ve been getting far too worked up about it for far too long. The gap I might leave in the office has all but closed over already; a colleague’s belongings are already stacked by my desk. My entire career for the past five years (my length of tenure at the Sausage Factory) has been boiled down to a box containing umpteen notebooks, which must be preserved and locked away Forever And Ever Amen, for legal reasons. When it came down to it, there weren’t all that many loose ends to tie up. Maybe that means I’m super-efficient. Maybe it means I was always just another brick in the wall. I think the latter.
I have no idea what it’s going to be like to not be working. Back in May 2002 I finished my degree finals on a Friday, before starting my TV career on the Monday. Since then I’ve had a maximum of 2 weeks off and always with the next project looming over my head. And it has been… intense. I’d be lying if I said the prospect of NO WORK NO WORK doesn’t make me feel gleeful (and yes I know having a baby is hard work. Bla bla. Let me revel in ignorance at least until she’s born).
Happily, G is also starting what we’re calling his “maternity leave” today too. Redundancy was not what we had planned for Winter 09-10, but it’s what he was handed. But thankfully he’s secured new work which starts in February, so these few weeks off for him are a gift, really (and how was that paragraph for a whole ream of unwritten, angst-ridden blog posts, rolled into one? Oh, it has been an interesting time).
We plan to spend a lot of time together, our last weeks together as a twosome. And I imagine there will be a fair amount of running around fetching things on his part, and a lot of breathless huffing on mine. All the while waiting for the offspring to make her descent.
Like never before, the coming year is a total unknown quantity. But for the next few weeks at least (I trust) I know one thing: there will be no alarm clock for me. Clock-shaped, baby-shaped, or otherwise.