After having worked from home for about 120 days – 116 days to be precise – I finally went back to the office recently. As I walked in through the turnstile gate and swiped in to enter, I was overcome by mixed feelings of anticipation and apprehension. Anticipation I can explain as it meant I was finally going to travel to work, not just move to another room or chair in the house and, of course, catch up with colleagues I hadn’t met in all these months.
It was the apprehension I was unable to explain. I have walked these corridors for close to 19 years. This has not just been my office but my second home, my school and that space where I have built a treasure-trove of memories.
So why was I now feeling slightly on edge; as if someone was chipping away parts of me? Call it butterflies, trepidations... I had them all. Very unsettling.
Was it the new smell? (Why can’t disinfectants have a comforting scent, I wonder.) Or was it the eerie silence on the floor? (I blame social distancing for that.) But as I sat down at my desk, checked the settings of my ergonomic chair, placed my table calendar, notepads and stationery in their rightful place, it dawned upon me that change and I have always had a tumultuous relationship. It starts with denial and before you know it, I am being dismissive towards it, trying to end it on grounds of distrust. All the time knowing fully well that I am fighting a losing battle.
So, as I sat down to process the last four months, which I will always remember as one never-ending earthquake that continues to shake things up, I also realised that these uncertain months gave me the opportunity to thresh out all that is unnecessary. Perhaps that is what change is – a trigger that puts us on the path of growth.