Today marks the end of my career in property restoration. I find myself struck with a mixture of emotions, some of them quite unexpected. I never planned for my life’s career, my life’s work, to consist of my time in property restoration. I have always wanted to be an author, and I am now getting the chance to explore that career full time for the first time in my life. I have been a part-time author, a part-time writer, a hobbyist, if you will, up to this point. Now, I’m putting my feet firmly on the path of career wordsmith for the first time, and there is an unbelievable excitement (and a bit of anxiety) about that prospect.
On the other hand, after more than nine years with the company I’m leaving, there’s a lot of bittersweet emotions too. This is the longest I’ve ever worked at one place in my life. I started at the very bottom of the mitigation department and worked myself decently high up in the inner workings, if I do say so myself. By the end I was processing every single claim through the third party monitoring systems and writing the estimates for them (more than 300 since April of this year when we started a new data management program). It was high volume, high intensity work, and I actually liked it when things were going smoothly.
I started working for this company back when Courtney’s family owned part of it as a private business under their family name, and was one of the last there who could make that claim. Since then that business grew and was merged into a national company with offices in multiple states across the country. During those years of growth and change, years both Courtney and I worked there, our family grew when Connor came to live with us and when we had Reagan and Maddie. This job gave us the ability and flexibility to take vacations, enroll the kids in dance and taekwondo, gave us food and shelter for nearly a decade as the sole source of income for our family.
We saved enough to, with the help of family, become home owners almost six years ago, realizing a shared dream years in the making. For as long as our children have lived with us, I have worked for this company. It’s part of how they know me, how I know myself.
The work wasn’t always easy, and it wasn’t always pretty, but it allowed us the opportunity to do some amazing stuff as a family, and for that I will be forever grateful and thankful. It was surprisingly difficult to walk through those doors for the last time today. I’ve put a lot of time, and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into that place, and I could feel every bit of that as I walked through the warehouse for the last time. Our family has benefitted a lot from that working relationship, but we’ve given at least as good as we’ve got in return.
One of my favorite poets has always been Robert Frost. The way he described nature and the sense of magic and mysticism he could capture in something as simple as a snowy field never ceases to amaze me. But the reason he has always stood out in my mind is his poem about the two roads, the one everyone quotes. My dad used to quote that poem a lot, “…and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” He would say that line sometimes it seemed without thinking.
But he also lived his life by that philosophy. He never hesitated to see what lay down a different road, where an unknown path my take you. Sometimes we got lost and had to backtrack on family vacations, but there was never a dull moment. And I have tried to live that way in my life as well. Always seeking that less-traveled road to find what lies at the end of it. Few times in my life have those words from Robert Frost hit as close to home as they do right now as I step off a well-beaten and worn path into the unknown and I thought about that poem as I got in my car and left that part of my life behind.
I am excited, thrilled, energized, optimistic, nervous, anxious, nostalgic, and a little terrified.
It’s been an emotional kind of day.