My car sold and now I’m solely in the van. I kinda love clamoring into the tall captain chair, rolling down the windows and cranking some jams as I slowly drive away. This morning I completed a routine that I have lived for over four years. A routine of be in the shower by 7AM so I can be leaving the house at 7:30AM. A routine of left on Lombard Street, right turn on Wall Street (to avoid the ever present red light) and then a left on Willamette Avenue. A routine of avoiding “that one tree” while parking as it will cover my car with sticky sap and it’ll take me until next year to get it off. A routine of angling my purse pocket just right so my keycard inside will hit the sensor and open the door without having to put my bags down. A routine of singing the first few notes of “Good Morning” from “Singing in the Rain” when my associate comes into the backroom. Lights on, white lab coat buttoned, chart opened, remembering the stethoscope that I left in the break room, a pump of hand sanitizer and a “My name is Laura. So, what are we seeing you for today?”
Today, this routine will be no more. A routine that I did most days without even realizing. Each moment calculated and practically timed. Today is my last day in clinic for the foreseeable future. I’ll be back in practice at some point, but who knows where or when. I see the complaint of “concussion” for the last time and ponder when I’ll be treating this again. My associate was so kind and gave me a lovely departure gift, but when the clock struck 1PM I was officially unemployed. Nothing happened; nothing marked the occasion. I balled up my lab coat and shoved it in the dirty laundry bag, grabbed my emesis bin that I held my coffee cup, lotion and medical reference book, hugged my associate and clinic partner and walked out the door. I walked out and that was the end.
Around the corner sat Martin Van Buren (my van). I climbed into the driver’s seat and I smiled as the engine turned over and Railroad Earth pumped through the speakers. I repositioned the sage plant that sits in the cupholder in the console to make room for my coffee cup. For the last time I pulled away from clinic. I didn’t feel sadness or fear, but I did have the feeling of “now what?”. As soon as I felt that, my excitement settled in. That is the exact question I wanted to have and the exact question that I’m not trying to answer right away. The answer will come, but for the first time in my life I am not going to force it. In order to get to where we want to be, sometimes we have to sit in the in between. I have to let go of what is old and familiar, so I can be willing to wait with empty hands until they are ready to be filled with what is right.