I went on a walk down memory lane yesterday, and it all happened with a stroke of serendipity that led to a highly emotional and eventful day. It started out with breakfast with a good old friend from university, someone I hadn’t seen in many many years. Those years apart meant nothing though, and it felt like we picked up right where we left off. We skipped the formalities and jumped right into the real stuff. We didn’t talk about the weather, or the traffic, or the price of gas. Instead, we talked about our dreams, our fears, our insecurities, and in the process remembered who we were back in University more than 15 years ago. I saw myself through the eyes of someone who knew me in my early 20s, when I thought I had the whole world figured out.
Little did I know back then, there was – and still is – so much yet to learn.
A few hours later, I met an old mentor for lunch, someone who quickly turned into a friend and who played a big role in my career, and who taught me lessons I didn’t want to, but had to, learn. Lunch too was an emotional one as I said goodbye to such an inspiration in my life, as she sets out to move back to her home country with her family. With her, I saw myself at the beginning of my career, struggling to understand myself and what value I could add to the world.
I remembered a time in my life where I was conflicted, torn between what I thought I “should” be, and what I felt I “could” be, if only I allowed myself to dream.
I realized how grateful I am for what seemed like difficult days, filled with a sense of imbalance and ambiguity. Those days, as painful as they were sometimes, were the bridge that I had to cross to what came next.
Dinner soon followed, and this time with close colleagues I worked with in my last corporate job, before I decided to take the leap into the entrepreneurial life. We laughed, we talked, we drank, we ate, and through them I saw the corporate me, the one who had grown and gained more confidence over the years, and the one who played the corporate “game” and who climbed, and at times even fought, her way up the corporate ladder.
In a span of a day, spread over 3 meals, with 3 groups of people from my past, I came face to face with 3 parts of me, and the 4th that I am today (for now at least).
I reflected on the road I’ve traveled so far, and said a silent thanks as I looked back on the amazing, surprising, rocky and beautiful life I’ve lived so far, detours and all.
Some days, we have to look for sources of inspiration and reasons to reflect, and other days the stars align and they get served on a silver platter. I hope you have days like those, and if not, why not create them? After all, who is better than you at setting your own agenda?