Today I begin my handover period – a few weeks where my team show our successors the ropes before we move on with our own lives. (I work in an environment where people are elected into their position, so there’s an annual handover period).
I packed up my desk – all the postcards I had received full of encouragement and wisdom, books I had collected, ticket stubs and event brochures, photos, and my slippers. Memories I had forgotten about resurfaced and I felt my first all consuming sadness to be leaving this place. A place where I had learnt so much, grown so much.
It’s a strange thing – handover.
Obviously I cannot handover a whole years worth of work in a just a few days. And even if I miraculously managed to bitesize everything, the person coming in has their own aims and agenda for their term ahead anyway. It’s been a real experience, prioritising what I think must continue, what I’d like to continue if they have the time and what I think is OK to be forgotten about (will hopefully handle itself). I think I’ve successfully tied up loose ends and packaged everything so it’s not too overwhelming. I knew this day was coming since the time I stepped into office, and I have been planning for it for months, so this empty feeling caught me off guard.
What I find even more strange is this letting go. Picture this – you’ve spent more than a year of your life starting projects from the bottom, nurturing them and loving them so they take off. You’ve seen them benefit people and give others hope. You’ve seen them be adopted at other places because of their success and win awards. You’ve worked tirelessly on them to make them this way, working way more hours than you’re paid for and loosing sleep thinking about little (or big) bumps that have come along the way. They become personal – more than just work – but something you’re engulfed and invested in. How do you now let go completely, hoping a stranger who has never been involved to love it the same way or even understand it? That’s what I need to figure out.
And stranger still is letting go of the people. You work so intensely close together on issues you’re all so passionate about. You’ve stayed up till the early hours, inspired each other and changed each other’s minds and souls. I have of course made some friends who are now more than just comrades. But how do you let go of all the comrades? At the end of it all, your connection is tied to the movement and once you leave, what more is there to discuss? Sure we meet up for socials but those quickly turn into an extension of everything else, more planning, more learning, more working. All these people who I talk to daily, no longer relevant in my life.
So yes as I begin my handover, I will try and make sure I handover all I have learnt and all that I wish I had learnt, maybe even throw in some passion for the things I have done. But I can’t help thinking that, with it all, I am handing over part of my life. A part I’m not yet sure I’m ready to let go of.
Have you had to let go of something you love doing?
We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are. – Max Depree