Under New Management: Let it Be

It is with mixed feelings that I announce my resignation as manager of the universe. It's a decision I have struggled with over time, and I have finally concluded that the start of a new year is the right moment to clean out my desk and hand in my keys. There was also a refrigerator involved, but more about that later.

I want to take this opportunity to say how much I have enjoyed working with each and every one of you. Most of you had no earthly idea that I was working with you, or for you, or against you, but no matter. Weather systems threatening family vacations? I'm betting you didn't pick up on the fact that the constant chorus of no-no-no-no emanating from down here came directly from me. Often, you chose to ignore it, but that's water under the bridge. Or falling in torrents on the beach house. Or icing airport runways on Thanksgiving eve. Whatever.

Inanimate objects determined to defy me? Many of you have experienced my gimlet-like stare, my dark mutterings and vague promises. Note to furnace that chose to give out two days before Christmas, despite my praise of past performance and assurance of scrupulous future maintenance: I guess you had your reasons. Odd, though. I thought we had reached some kind of understanding. As for you, garage-door opener that works about 60 percent of the time and almost never in rain or cold, your listening skills are deeply flawed. When I sit in the driveway and pound on the steering wheel and say open-right-this-second through gritted teeth, it's not a casual suggestion. But hey, that was then. This is now.

People in the supermarket express line with 16 items, adieu. I'm done with standing behind you and mutely questioning your entire belief system, code of ethics, and need for the jumbo pack of pork rinds. You there, the one talking loudly into your cellphone in a crowded elevator, revealing unlovely details of your personal life, have at it. I may be next to you, but I won't be secretly censoring you, or beaming negative, hang-up-now energy your way. Not my department.

Dear family and friends, here's a news flash. My days of mentally gauging your emotional, physical, and financial well-being up close or long distance are officially over. Ditto my silent monologues on work-life balance and tricky relationships. If you show up in a bad mood, be advised that I will no longer assume it's my fault. Don't take this the wrong way. I haven't stopped caring. I'm just not in management anymore.

I've had a good run in this job, and I have the carefully concealed gray hair and acid reflux to prove it. Now it's time to let someone else pick up the baton. I'm confident that there will be plenty of applicants. I've shared moments with them in the endless post office queue, noting their deep sighs as a fellow customer chats with the lone clerk about interesting new stamp choices. I've watched them run red lights that just stayed red too long, listened to their instructive comments about rude movie patrons and slow waiters. It takes one to know one.

As for me and my hard-won epiphany, it all came down to a refrigerator magnet. Let go or be dragged, it said in bold green letters. I looked at it for a long time. Decades of bumping over the concrete, hanging on to a fraying rope of control, flashed before my eyes.

So I'm cutting loose. What I will do with all the energy that went into my management job, I can't yet imagine. It could probably power a giant turbine somewhere, or pull a monster truck.

Or maybe just light the way to the next signpost.