Friends and Memories - A Gathering of Both
Me, my laptop, a cup of java and pictures. Lots of pictures. I'm scrolling through images of what will (and have already) become memories.
Yesterday was a gathering of people I worked with oodles of years ago - 20 to be exact. Thanks to the wonderful world of Facebook we have all - well, many of us - stayed in touch over the long years. Some friends flew in from other states. Some drove many miles. Some gave up plans or delegated duties JUST so they could be there to catch up.
Who does that? Who jumps through hoops just to meet up with people they worked with ever so long ago? And...why?
I commented to Hubbypants, probably more than once (I repeat myself a lot), how remarkable I thought it was these people - FRIENDS- were willing to rearrange their lives to meet up. Also? I've had a lot of jobs over the years (except the last 15 yrs. spent at home...I'm accepting job offers. Please submit yours today for my consideration...kthxbai)yet, I have no desire to reunite with anyone from that part of my past as I did my old Symantec friends. Maybe it was because I grew up with them?
Symantec wasn't my first job - I'd been a waitress and done other office work, so I was no stranger to the dynamic of working in a professional environment. However, I was 21 when I started working there and despite my experience, I did still push the boundaries of working in an office and being responsible for myself (a.k.a. I was often late to work (warning issued) and maybe arrived at work a wee bit inebriated from the night before...which had me crawling in the door at 6am and back out for work at 7am). I learned a lot in my 4 years there - things that would bring me success in other jobs. My Symantec years formed my work ethic thanks to my supervisors and teammates (Buck, if you read this...hats off to you for all your guidance).
I think our connection has remained because so much had changed while we worked together. Our group grew and evolved. Some of us were promoted, some of use were let go. Some of us got married and had children. Some of us struggled. We faced upheaval - move to a new state or find new jobs. Some of us bonded over that, some of us didn't. S'all good.
Credit must also be given to Facebook. I've connected with these people because of social media. I'm not sure we'd all still be friends had it not been for this remarkable tool. It really does make staying in touch tremendously easy - and, I must admit, I'm very lazy about staying in touch (Facebook chat makes it easy though).
I'm very glad we are in touch - after several hours of chatting and laughing, it occurred to me that I STILL liked these people in person. Let's face it...20 years is a long time and memories become fuzzy. We sometimes glorify the past, make it rosier than it really was. But, I must say...seeing these old friends - giving them a big hug - reinforced those ancient memories. Yes, I really do still like them.
I'd like to see more of them. I don't know if the feeling is mutual, it is o.k. if it isn't (what the hell is wrong with them, I'm awesome). There seemed to be a genuine enthusiasm among everyone for this gathering, and for future events. There were ripples of conversation about doing it again. I realize not everyone will make it, we are far flung. But, when a group of people who've been estranged (Facebook exempted) for so long, and were so willing to reconnect, then it is worth making the effort to plan meet-ups a bit more frequently than every 20 years. We've already lost one of our flock to breast cancer. Tragedy strikes without warning and any of us could be lost to just a memory at any time - we aren't that young anymore.
It's unlikely that all those peeps I hung with yesterday will read this post - but for those that do...thank you. Thanks for coming to reminisce and share new stories of your life that you've accumulated over the last 20 years. Thank you for being a part of some wonderful memories that I will cherish...always.
For those of you that couldn't be there, I hope you can make it next time. You were missed.