The Circle, Completed

Kimberly, one of my colleagues at Academy of Art University, stood up from her desk and shook my hand when I entered her office this morning.

“Glad we could get together, John; welcome to your new office.”

I have been working from my home office for the past year and a half. I was doing work I loved, in places I hated. I worked from home in two different apartments during my stretch of unemployment and reinvention, the 366 days from February 21, 2010 to February 23, 2011.

These apartments had bad energy; not because they were dumpy, in fact, they were in the SoMa district of San Francisco, next to the Giant’s AT&T Park, the other in tony Montclair Village in Oakland. They were transitional spaces, where I experienced wrenching pain and frustration, trying to find my path, writing and writing and writing…

My current home in San Bruno is my sanctuary, a symbol (for me) that I had made it through bloody hell and back to where I wanted so badly to be. In that home is a dedicated office space, with the file cabinets and the desk and the computer monitors. As much as I adore my new home, I never loved this home office. I need to be around people. I love to kibitz, to brainstorm, to gossip and solve problems collaboratively. The solitude of the home office is just not what I am suited for. Imagine, working at a dream job in a  place I didn’t exactly love.

The school decided that I should have a spot in the city, for meetings in person, brainstorming and collaborating. When I got the news (literally yesterday), I was so excited. Back in the office, back with people- awesome!

Kimberly smiled. “Let me show you your space; they already have your name on the door!”

We walked into the room, empty except for a chair, a desk, a bookcase and a cord for a phone not yet installed.

I stood there motionless, for what felt like 20 minutes, silent. The hair on the back of my neck stood up.

Breaking the awkward silence, Kimberly said “You look like you just saw a ghost.”

Oh, there are many ghosts in here, Kimberly. Friendly ones, but ghosts, indeed.”


“This is not the first time I have stood here. You see, this already was my office- in 1993.”

“WHAT? The school just obtained this spot a couple of months ago, from the attorney upstairs.”

“This used to be K-101, now Star 101.3. This was where the radio station was located. This is where I came to work for years. This building is why I moved to San Francisco…”

Kimberly stepped back. “Oh my god.”

I walked into my new office today-  29 days, 18 years, three different tenants, two months, and one career after it was…my old office.

My path has rejoined the spot where it began. Time to start anew. I’m freaking out.

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