When you’ve been away from a workplace long enough, you nearly become a brand new person upon your return. They’ve given away your phone extension (not that you ever remembered the last one), so you get a new number, plus a new security card, the same email address, but a more ridiculous network password. You might need a day or two to reacquaint with server set-ups, workflows, old colleagues; all the while knowing that your time there is brief and finite.
It might feel good to be reinvented, like you’ve shed the outdated parts of yourself, leaving behind only your future potential.
On the subway one morning, you read Susan Sontag’s story “Unguided Tour”¹ where a character declares, “Like you, I don’t consider devotion to the past a form of snobbery. Just one of the more disastrous forms of unrequited love.”