I spent the weekend with my wife and with friends. Good friends. Best friends. Friends we have known for a long time. Friends whose children have become wonderful adults at the same time that ours have. Friends who have grown just that little bit older at the same time as we have.
Unconditional friendship. People who always care about us and are always there for us. Friends who know and accept who we are…just as we are. Friends who we know would do anything for us at any time…in the same way they know we would for them.
Friends we laugh with, cry with, tell stories with, learn from and love.
It has been a wonderful weekend. A memorable weekend after a regular week. I was on the East Coast at the start of the week. And I met with colleagues, customers and even managed to connect with a couple of consultants. I was involved in trying to solve issues, seize opportunities, finish 2017 strongly, plan for a successful 2018, increase recruitment, decrease turnover, and even plan the details of what I have to do next week.
I laughed a lot in the week. I didn’t cry. I told and listened to stories – good stories and engaging stories…exciting stories and disconcerting stories. I learned an immense amount about what I do and about myself. I love my wife.
Everything good that I experienced last week. Any opportunity to learn or improve. Anything new or unexpected that I saw or heard or learned. Came from people. People I met, called, emailed or watched. A thought shared; a question asked; an insight offered; an experience explained. It is always people that make a difference. People we work with or live with. Our people. Friends at work or friends out of work. People we like or admire; Friends we enjoy and love. Our friends.
In the midst of the weekend I also met I met an old friend from work…from some six or seven years ago. An individual I hear about often…who always impressed and inspired me so much. Someone I used to interact with regularly and even had chance to work on projects with. She didn’t see me…but I saw her and I went over to say hello.
We only spoke for five or ten minutes. She was leaving and we were eating (with our friends). But we laughed and updated and events, and travel and places and companies, or people and about each other.
Occasionally I am still asked if I miss my previous company. It’s an interesting question – how can I miss a company? But I do miss the people. Colleagues friends, allies and mentors. I miss people. And it’s just not possible to stay in touch as much as I would like.
And then occasionally – like this week – I find opportunity to meet an old friend, and despite all my fears, I only experience pleasure and happiness. There is never any resentment on either side. Never any unfriendly feelings. Unconditional friendship.
Friendships – especially friendships based on work – presumably can or must have a time and a place. We all move on all the time – as individuals, in families, at work, in life. To assume that all our friendships will stay the same over time would be either idealistic or unrealistic. And would be nothing like as much fun or value.
And yet, despite time passing and events unfolding, important friendships stay important to us. Best friends at work or best friends in life are still just that – best friends. And unconditional friendships are just that – free from any conditions.