On Thursday morning, I showed up for a meeting/video conference that I had been requested to attend. I was therefore surprised to be called out and presented a certificate of recognition for 30 years of continued employment at my company. Apart from the certificate there was no other reason for me to be there.
You could have knocked me over with a feather. The certificate reads "In recognition of thirty years of dedicated service." Who would think that seeing those words on paper beneath my name could mean so much?
It doesn't seem like 30 years. It doesn't feel like 30 years. For many, thirty years is more than half a life-time. When I started, the thought of staying on for thirty years was not even a small part of my calculations. And yet, here I am, thirty years later, unsure whether to treat this particular milestone as a valedictory and look back or as a salutatory and focus forward.
I will definitely avail myself of the opportunity to look back. I learned some very important personal and professional life lessons from some very important people over the last thirty years. Some are no longer with us. Others, I continue to work with every day. I am grateful for all of them.
That said, I plan to keep my focus forward. Since hearing of the award, many have wished me at least thirty years more. Thank you. I appreciate your friendship and the vote of confidence, but thirty years more is probably not going to happen. What I can tell you is that outside, the sun is shining brightly. Inside I am feeling exceptionally free and contented; I am excited to have achieved this milestone and eager to take on whatever comes next. With friends such as I have, whatever comes next will be an adventure.
It is written somewhere that if you “Sow a thought, you reap an act; Sow an act, and you reap a habit; Sow a habit, and you reap a character; Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.”
Looking back over the past thirty years, I realize the truth of those words.
What thoughts are you sowing today?
What destiny will you reap in thirty years?
Thirty years. Who would have thunk it?