You guys, today is the end of an era.
My work bff CJ is spending her last day as a resident in our office, and because of the terms of her leaving (working from CLE, coming back every so often to Chicago to work from there), I have pretty much decided that I can pretend she’s not moving next week.
Except she is, and it’s in six days.
CJ and I started off as acquaintances in adjacent cubicles, but we’ve morphed into the kind of friends who spend all day together and then debrief on the last eight hours over text that night.
It’s weird to really even call CJ my work friend, since after eight years and countless assorted adventures together, I think it’s safe to say that we’re just life friends.
In the spirit of CJ, who’s one of the funniest people I’ve ever met, I refuse to get overly sentimental, and instead, I’m sharing with you some of my best CJ memories over the past eight years:
1. When CJ showed up at SB, we were both 22. We invited her to a happy hour, and then all snickered when she actually stopped by. We couldn’t believe she would actually come to an event where she knew no one. That’s how my pal is though- she’s always up for a good time, and in a potentially awkward social situation, she’s the person you want at your side- she’ll be your friend in no time.
2. Once while sitting in our cubicles, we were chatting amongst ourselves and all of a sudden CJ interjected.
What’s Mountain time? she asked, straight faced, as we all giggled and then told her.
It’s new, don’t feel bad, our friend SK lied.
She kept a map of the timezones at her desk after that.
3. Our area was known for being the loudest on the floor for at least the first four years we were there. One day, CJ and I were discussing a woman’s right to choose (don’t ask me why, I don’t know), when I loudly added, “Well, I mean, what if I had a one night stand?” CJ’s eyes went wide and I thought I’d crossed the work friend appropriate level of conversation (I’ve now learned that doesn’t exist between us), but then I realized that no, it was just that the CEO was right behind me. We dissolved into horrifying laughter so hard that I think my abs still hurt seven years later.
4. CJ and I did a triathlon together, and spent an entire summer training our asses off. Among my favorite memories from that time: riding our bikes before the sun came up and giving each other pep talks, walking around Chicago beaches in our wetsuits, debating whether or not it was lazy to walk part of our three mile run (after our 25 mile bike ride), and answering “yes” to CJ when she asked if we were close to the finish line.
I mean, in the scheme of all our training, we were close to the finish line.
There’s nothing like meeting someone at 5am in spandex to solidify a friendship.
5. When our friend JK got married, CJ and I headed out to Montana on an adventure. She talked me out of overdosing on Xanax when I spotted the propellor plane I had to ride, and I made it through the flight without drugging myself out of my mind. We climbed mountains (without water, like idiots), discussed our love for the fresh air, and unknowingly spent the night in a motel where someone had been murdered AND there was a pet cemetery.
It happens, right?
Sometimes I wonder how we made it this far.
7. Although CJ and I worked together for eight years, we only spent a couple of years actually working on a client together. This meant an even more intense schedule together, which apexed in Boston several years ago when we decided that we should lay off the vodka red bull drinks if we were planning on making it to 30. Life hack: Pizza eaten in a parking garage tastes better.
8. This one’s not really one specific moment. The past eight years I’ve had someone who always nods when I say “we should get a drink,” is on the ready with on point advice on a myriad of topics, makes me laugh so hard that I’m crying, and is someone who I’m one hundred percent I’m never going to replace so I’m just not going to try.
When people ask me if I’m sad CJ is leaving, I immediately say yes, but I follow it up by saying I recognize how lucky it is that we got to spend eight years together- most people don’t get that opportunity and it’s the best thing that’s happened to me in my professional life.
Cleveland better appreciate that we’re about to send her one of our best.
Here’s to the next chapter CJ- I can’t wait to see what rolls your way next.
P.S. Don’t forget your bike.