Today I sign all the legal documents which makes selling my firm final. I am writing this at 5 in the morning which says something about my mental state and inability to sleep.

I have not been in the office more than twice in the last 7 months and thought that I was mentally prepared to hand over Grafik to my partners- and in so many ways I have and am ready. But today it becomes really real. I will no longer own this firm.

There are of course upsides- for one, I finally get paid. I have been going the last 7 months without a paycheck or income source which has been fine except for the fact that I am spending $$$ on building the studio. So it will be really nice to finally have some money in the bank and I look forward to getting monthly payments again.

Of course I love retirement and the freedom that it gives me to follow my passion. The ability to work unencumbered is fantastic and for the most part my stress level has gone way down. It is lovely not to worry about the business the way I used to.

But there are some downsides to all of this. It is hard to feel dispensable. I worked for a long time believing that I was a critical part of my firm- and for many years I was. But now, Grafik is flourishing under the new regime, making money, and getting many new clients. It is hard coming to the realization that I have nothing to do with that. It makes me wonder if I was holding Grafik back for the last few years, whether I was more of a block to their success.

It's funny what parts I miss and what sets me off. I was unsettled when I heard new photos were being taken for the website- which is a really good thing- but it made me realize I would not be part of that. It was hard not being invited to baby showers of employees that I had connections to. It is hard knowing that I will not be part of the annual company event (but equally lovely not planning it!). And it is hard dropping off the face of the earth and becoming invisible to many staff members and clients that I had close relations with. I really only keep contact with 2 partners and 2 ex clients. All that riles me in a way that I had not suspected.

So today at 11 am I will sign the documents that make me a former owner and a future creditor. That is a strange relationship at best and has been hammered out by two of the best lawyers I know that we have worked with for more years than I can count. It is a very amiable parting- no cut throat negotiations on either side- and just the way I hoped it would be. It is fair.
But I had not imagined that I would have a lump in my throat. I thought all of that emotional phase was long behind me. I suggested that we have a lunch celebrating this momentous occasion- a chance to see my 5 former partners and tie up loose ends. It felt wrong to me just sign papers and go home and not to mark this event.
Finality is a difficult concept to get one's hands around. Today I close one important chapter of my life. I will sign papers, probably shed a few tears, have a celebratory lunch, and come home to my studio and begin again. I am ready.