Being "on"

Last week was full.  From the time Rob dropped me at the airport until the time he picked me up, I was with co-workers, being "on".  And, not just "on" but "work on", so no swearing.  It was exhausting.  But, it was also nice.  I'm always surprised at the people that go out of their way to spend time with me.  The people I've kept up with over the years and helped with projects, but also the ousiders and people on the fringes that I've taken time to get to know while I was living on the fringes.  

I don't really fit into the whole best friend at work thing.  I've done that.  It never ended well and now, I like having friends at work, but I also like having a life outside of work.  When I go to events like this, I generally find myself on the fringes of the group, sitting with other people that are on the fringes, having dinner with them, talking, laughing.  Making friends.  I've done that so long that the fringe has become its own group and we find one another's tables and sit together in introverted quiet.  

There's one young man.  He fits somewhere along the spectrum, very very smart, but struggles interacting with others.  When he and I started working together, he could only speak short sentences by looking down and letting his hair fall over his face.  I sat at his table for lunch years ago and we've remained in contact since.  He's gotten better and better at interacting.  He recorded a congratulations to include in my 40 year anniversary video where he looked straight into the camera and spoke.  And, it was a wonderful thing to see and when l saw him at the conference, I thanked him.  On the last day, when we were all saying goodbye, he sought me out.  I think most of us realized this is likely my last one of these conferences.  And, he shook my hand and looked me in the eye.  And, I was moved.  

This was the view out my hotel window, looking out over the Lake Erie.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is on the right and the Cleveland Browns stadium is on the left.  Not sure what the older buildings are, but I'm betting courthouses or city offices.  

It was good to catch up with friends, old and new.  I'm a resource for new employees, so I usually get a call when someone is standing on the ledge, ready to jump ship, confused and feeling lonely.  I'm not often the first person they call, but I'm usually the one that will put other things aside to talk them off the ledge, make time to show them what they need, and help them through what feels like a crisis.  I've only recently acknowledged that this is a big part of my self esteem.  I get to think of myself as a hero.  And, I wonder where I'm going to get that when I retire.    

This closet plant (Spathiphyllum) was glad to see me home.  This is one of the happiest plants I have right now.  It lives outside in summer and loves this spot where it gets early morning sun and shade the rest of the day.  

In the spirit of finishing things, I finished the scarves I started for me and Rob earlier in the year.  Rob's is made from some multi color wool yarn he gave me for Christmas a couple years ago alternating with some deep red I had left from a sweater.  Mine is made from some nice wool we found in a discount store several years ago.  They're the same pattern, but with custom variations for length and width.  

Everybody have a great week!  I was so happy to see all the pride banners in airports and restaurants when we were traveling.  It's nice to feel seen in this climate of attacking gays to pump up false christian bonafides in society.   You don't have to be gay to acknowledge Pride.  And, you never know what it will mean to someone when you do.   



Anonymous said...

Welcome home. I think your post taught us all a good lesson . Thanks for sharing. Mary

Suzanne said...

I'm pretty sure that you already know this, but volunteering would be a great way to boost self-esteem upon retirement!

Susan from Manitoba said...

I love reading your posts - so inspirational. Thank you.