I am writing this letter while sat on my old desk in a now empty office as people around me try to figure out how to fit a filing cabinet in a lift. It’s barely 9am and yet it all seems to signal the end of something. An era as it were. I’ve come to the same office 5 days a week for over a year, and while I have made the journey for a shorter period of time when compared to some of the people I work with, I first made my trip to this office over 5 years ago when I was nothing but a mildly terrified 18 year old waiting impatiently for her A Level results to find out which university was going to eventually greet me with a welcome week. The desk has never changed, it has always been opposite the highly temperamental lift. The view to my right has never changed, it was always an assortment of soft chairs and a sofa that acted as a waiting area. The view to my left was always desks, but the people that sat at them has altered hugely over the years. It was almost like an odd area of static that always felt like something different every time I went to sit at my desk, but was yet also the same.
And now it’s not.
The desk is empty and covered in more dust than I thought was possible, but had always been hidden by the weight of my hard drive. There are stray coffee mug stains that must have been buried under mounds of post-it notes and notebooks and other random stray pieces of paper that I somehow accumulated throughout the days, weeks, months. Just a continual build up of stuff that I hadn’t realised took up so much space until I was confronted with the reality that I was going to have to clean it all up and figure out what was important and what wasn’t.
Almost like an autumn cleaning.
Which to be honest makes more sense to me than having a total clear out in the spring. Not too sure why, but there seems to be something more fitting about clearing out all the clutter and potential dead weight that might have accumulated through the months since the year started while the world outside is changing and also shedding some of that weight. A good time to have a look at whatever it is that somehow seems to be ingrained in your every day life, but doesn’t necessarily need to be there. I know, outside of the world of my desk and office, that I have done the same thing with my actual life as well. The bin bags of clothes and other general rubbish that I have recently thrown away indicate that. On a slightly too hot almost autumn, but obviously not quite, afternoon I finally let go of t-shirts that didn’t really fit properly anymore, anything with a hole in it, the ridiculous amount of online delivery packaging and delivery notes that I had hoarded in my room for some reason, the nice crisp, fresh feel of changing my bedsheets and knowing that the feeling of ultimate snuggliness awaited me when I returned to my room later that night (I should say that I change my bedsheets way more often than that, but it fits here as well and was needed once I had upended all the dust in my room through the cleaning).
And in keeping with the idea that I have to be some kind of minimal right now and maybe not so much of a hoarder when I get home tonight (which I hope to do before 7 for the first time in about 2 weeks, which may not seem like much, but somehow eventually takes its toll) I am going to have to pack. It’s only for 4 days and 3 nights, but I decide what I’m going to wear about 30 seconds before I get dressed each morning and I wear a different pair of shoes each day depending on my mood, and honestly this autumnal weather you’ve got going on right now is so temperamental that I’m not really sure what clothing would be appropriate down by the beach. I mean there will be a lot of hoodies/jumpers involved and don’t even get me started on the toiletries situation, because once I go there the whole thing gets some other level stressful. Plus there’s the early wake up call and the fact that in my bleary eyed, half asleep still very much wanting to be in bed self is going to have to remember to pack all the tiny things I haven’t yet because I needed them last and first thing.
And then I need to make my 8:35 train at King’s Cross.
Until tomorrow Autumn,
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