I got this hand while playing with Dad. Should I just quit now? I can’t imagine ever getting a better hand than that.
Here I am on January 23, 2017, starting my first day working for my company at the Columbia Center:
And here’s me on Wednesday, April 6, 2022, when I arrived to clean out my desk. Not to leave the company, but because we’re transitioning to permanent full-time remote work.
As I cleaned out my stuff, I took a few pictures of some of my favorite things in the Seattle office. Here they are, in no particular order.
I’m going to miss all the beauty I got to see on so many trips to and from Seattle.
This week I got the excellent news that this is now my permanent work desk:
My company has decided to save itself a packet by no longer maintaining office space in Seattle. Permanently. My boss hastened to reassure me that my job remained safe, but all Seattle employees on our team would work remotely from here on out.
I’m glad to hear it, but not as unalloyed joyful as I expected. I kind of started looking forward to seeing my Seattle colleagues, even if we didn’t directly work together — sharing baked goods, writing the jokeboard, going for walks at lunchtime — although maybe not so much that final one, given the shocking rise in violent crime in the neighborhood around our office tower. I didn’t want to do it five days a week, but a couple days sounded like a good mental health break from being alone in my apartment.
You know what’s strange? Coming to grips with losing biking as I’ve known it for the last 15+ years feels almost exactly the same as a breakup. Maybe grief is just grief.
As I’m processing through this, I have to accept that I’m not ready to be done with being a performance athlete. I’m not ready to say goodbye to my biking buddies. I’m not ready to lose the stability of a routine I’ve maintained in essentially the same form for nearly all my adult life.
Not ready, but able. I can live a happy, fulfilled, joyful, active, healthy life without biking and all its routines.
For more than 15 years, I’ve ridden my bike. It started as a practical move to avoid buying a second car, but over time evolved into more than a hobby; it became a passion, a cornerstone of my identity. For me, bicycling has been a port in the storm, a refuge and relief, a way to meditate and dwell in the present moment and let go of the future, a mental health coping mechanism. It was community, friendship, connection, a regular group of people who I came to know and care about. It was freedom and joy and as close to flying as I could get.
Going through some papers, I found this:
Me: Benji, what do you think this is?
Benji: A CD?
Benji: A VHS?
Benji: That technology is too old for me!
Honestly, it’s probably best that whatever’s on that floppy disk stays there. It is definitely some story I wrote in high school that should never see the light of day again.
Today was an exhausting emotional rollercoaster of a day. Our divorce finalized. I connected with three separate groups of friends. I learned that, very likely, I’ll have to give up biking or my artery will keep getting worse. The cherry blossoms at the UW were beautiful. I guess this is life.