Monday, December 12, 2011

Retirement and Reunions

Tonight was a reunion of sorts as my former cable TV colleagues came together to celebrate the retirement of one of our own. The building had bloated to four times the size it was when I worked there 18 years ago (kinda like me). It was odd returning to a building in which I spent so many years growing into my professional self, only to feel out of place. Lucky for me, the whole (mostly female) management team from my era were there to help our friend close out a chapter and usher her onto the next. We squealed happily (our male colleague grunting) wrapping our arms around one another, telling each other that we hadn't changed a bit and excitedly catching up on our lives.

I had the unique privilege to work so many years ago on a management team consisting of 5 women and 2 men - unheard of at that time in the male dominated pole climbers cable TV industry. There was a spirit of cooperation and support as we helped one another become successful in meeting our goals. We disagreed and debated but at the end of the day it was a safe environment and we were there for one another, with our relationships rooted in friendship. Even more importantly - we had FUN while getting it done.

Our general manager at the time (who has since passed on) told us to look around and remember -  because the exceptional, magical dream team experience would never be duplicated. And it wasn't.

There were dignitaries, former and current olleagues, family members, friends and event the corporate big wigs who had flown in for the event. The cafeteria had been transformed in to an elegant lounge complete with live entertainment, candles, a bar, a delicious spread and a stage with a ginormous screen shot of our friend. There were slick posters with photo essays of her illustrious, colourful career. And then she sat in a comfy chair on the stage as a parade of her past and present estolled their good wishes upon her. I couldn't help but blurt out that this was exactly like a living eulogy -- a funeral before the death. And it made me happy that she got to hear the wonderful things people think about her and how she impacted them. Most of us never will for we live in a society that hangs onto our great speeches until they will not be heard by the one who would enjoy them the most. Maybe we need to rethink that and create such opportunities to share "in life".
It's been a good night. It was rich in memory excavation, reconnection, reunions and a reminder of the exceptional companions I have had along the way on this incredible journey that is my life. And for that I am truly grateful.

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