This week I had lunch with an old friend. I had met her in the 70s when we both worked at the same company and ended up working together on a project. A few years later I was selected for a temporary assignment on a large corporate-wide project that she was spearheading. After that, I worked for her in management training capacity.
Over the years the friendship was closer or more distant depending on what was going on in our collective lives. We shared some pain. I can remember distinctly one day when I came to work, took one look at her, closed the door to her office and waited expectantly. Her dog Amy had been hit by a car and killed the night before. We both bawled uncontrollably for the better part of an hour grieving for lost pets. My favorite cat is buried at her farm.
We were supportive in relationships too. Some of our common ground was that we are both survivors. We do not spend a lot of time wallowing in muck but move on even when we don’t think we can.
At our lunch we spent some time reminiscing about some of the events that have happened over the years – some good and some bad. She was attractive, smart and credentialed so the company wanted to move her up. What she didn’t have was the desire to work in the top layer of a large, male-dominated company. She had other interests and activities outside of work that were more rewarding for her. The company
exploited her to increase the female presence and she eventually left to run her own company.
We spent time discussing some very pressing problems.
Why on earth does midriff skin get saggy? Neither one of us is out of shape but it’s saggy anyway. (Note to self – is exercise really worth it?)
We talked about shopping — we don’t need stuff anymore. What’s the point of buying new clothes when you wear jeans and sneakers every day? It takes the joy out of it. However, I do continue to buy shoes I don’t need for fear that the industry will be bankrupt if I don’t. I think of it as a bailout!
Then there is the eternal hair problem. It doesn’t get any better when you get older. The only good thing is that you care about it less. That doesn’t mean you don’t spend money on “product,” only that you already know it won’t work.
We both enjoy the luxury of having time to do what you want. Surprisingly, neither one of us feels like we have enough of that but we are grateful for what we do have.
Old friends are special. They’ve seen you up and down and still hang around. Go figure.
Cartoon credit — Maxine was created by John Wagner for Hallmark in 1986. It continues to be a big seller for their Shoebox line of cards.