Last night, I had one of the most transparent dreams of my entire life. Fresh from some emotional goodbyes at Glide in real life, I dreamt that a bunch of people I knew in my life, consisting primarily of Glide folks, but also including friends from throughout my time on Earth, were all staying at this big lodge. It was this labyrinthine place with crooked staircases and random working fireplaces and shmancy parts – as though the spirit of the La Fonda were infused into five different hotel styles that were all then jammed together.

In the dream, it was the fifth or seventh year of all of us coming together for some unofficial but very expected regular gathering, that was basically a big pajama party of everyone running around this crazy lodge and hanging out for a long weekend. And while the dream eventually insisted on becoming a bit of a nightmare (I got into some major argument with a stranger in the lobby restaurant, was threatened, and eventually had to leave in fear), the message of the heart of the dream was all too clear. I’m going to miss these people and I am adding to the tally of scattered people who I will be missing in the future. Deep in my heart, I just want us all to hang out somewhere relaxed and without responsibility where we can just be.

Life affords us few chances like this (my dream was clearly partially referencing my wedding, the last time when so many from so many walks of life were so assembled) and they are profoundly important to treasure. In the meantime, all we can do is say meaningful goodbyes and promise to not lose sight of these people. Ironically, of course, I attribute much of my trouble with staying in touch with people to working. But working has brought me more people. Such is the way of the world, the nature of life in an age that has advanced beyond the feudal farm.

This morning, waking from that dream and starting my typical morning routine that will be exceptional from here on out, everything really started to hit me broadside. This is it. After counting down and contemplating, planning a transition and carefully ensuring that my work goes on, it all ends today. Freedom and loss. Joy and sadness. The old emotional gobstopper, more moving for all I’ve been too busy to notice it creeping up on me. Glide is one of the very few places (college debate is the only other I can think of for sure) where I have felt thoroughly in my element, where I have felt at home and comfortable in the environment, among the people, navigating through its twists and turns. Where I feel I’ve “figured it out” and been able to capitalize on that to be successful, to make friends, to find a home. (And what does it say about this phenomenon that I’m returning to a college debate setting, coaching at Rutgers for the next two years?)

Walking away from that home is incredibly difficult. I don’t even realize how much so yet. The crazy place on the corner of Ellis and Taylor with the throngs of people in need has been my place. And starting tomorrow, it won’t be anymore. It will be a place that I was, where I loved and worked and tried. It will be a place of memory and the past. I am tearing up as I write this, for the second time in a young morning. This is life. And it’s all worth it, if only for the departures and losses that make one understand how important the pieces of one’s life really are.

This is it. This is it.

Give me a moment to hang on to, to hold forever, plunging into the future.