A big hello to the handful of people who may still stop in on this site.
So… I had a nice happy hour with a couple of former colleagues earlier (but forgot to check in on FB – which is where we people of a certain age tend to record our lives these days – until later).
One was our service’s former product manager, who is a great guy and colleague who moved laterally in the organization (and whom we really miss on our team). The other was my most immediate “former boss,” another gem of a human being and a guy who really set the standard for managing high-performing, responsible professionals in a large organization (he was chased away/left amicably during our post-merger transition last year – still not entirely clear which of the two, but more of the former I think).
While I miss them both in our day-to-day work setting, it’s been kind of interesting to get to know them both a bit better outside of work. Who knew there were so many things to talk about outside of rocks/oil/gas? (that’s a sarcastic joke – of COURSE there are many more things to talk about). 🙂
Anyhoo, the drive across Houston got me thinking about how much I’ve come to value relationships like this. Maybe it’s a “getting old” thing – I certainly valued different things 20 years ago (although my two “former bosses” from that time period are among my most valued friends, interestingly enough). Even 10 years ago, I was probably more keen to fly somewhere on a weekend than to schedule a happy hour with current or former work colleagues (though there was still a fair amount of “social”). Now, I tend to lament how difficult it is to find time to get together with people I’d like to see and whom I feel like I’m neglecting.
Maybe it’s partly a function of age. You hit your 50s (with all that it entails – including, at this point in life, the passing of people you value), and maybe you start to value some things differently. Or, perhaps I should just speak for myself and say that’s DEFINITELY the case with me (instead of “you”).
Someone shared this post earlier in the year – The Tail End – that I’d never seen before (I think it was my friend Holly).
It really put the “time problem” (as I’ve come to think of it) into some perspective for me. What I’ve come to think of as a “Whited trait” is that I’m fairly decent at organizing, which is mostly just a matter of estimating time costs, understanding dependencies and people, and trying to make things efficient (that last is definitely a “Whited trait” – reunions the last few years have taught me that we are optimizers, hilariously so). It’s increasingly kinda crazy (read: maybe not so optimal) to me that so much time (haha!) is spent on work things. (I mean, not totally crazy – it’s good to pay the bills, and working through “work” projects/problems can be satisfying). Or to frame it slightly differently: Unless health technology changes radically, I’m increasingly cognizant that I’m on “the other side” of whatever halfway timeline there may be on this ol’ planet (of course, one generally doesn’t know HOW far on the other side!). 50 is a number, but reasonable enough for dividing line purposes (let’s be optimistic) and one I’m on the other side of.
So it’s probably worth spending a bit of time (haha!) thinking about things/people we value, and how we want to prioritize the stuff that is outside those things that pay our bills. Increasingly, for me, that’s furthering and/or nurturing the many relationships I’ve developed (partly through work, but increasingly family/friends/neighbors/other). At this point in life, it provides sustenance – interestingly enough! And that was the mini-revelation that came to me as I was driving home from the happy hour with former work colleagues. It was actually more than that: A great use (in my mind) of some of those remaining blocks of time.
Your mileage may vary. 🙂