“If I see any more signs on the walls of my workplace that tell me to be the change, I cannot be held accountable for what I may say.”
That came from a very good friend. She’s intelligent, strong and full of cheerful humour. I knew exactly what she meant. I want to be the change – my way – not at the whim of a business mantra that dictates the terms of change. Brave words, but here is the situation: If our world is experiencing the strong winds of exponential change, we can be certain that we are being buffeted by those same air currents. Words and phrases like productivity enhancements, strategic direction, and robust execution are bandied around as if we were dots on a graph, or a number in an equation. And it was this line of thinking that gave me my “change” equation. I was attending one of those embrace the new seminars, scribbling my notes on paper, when my pen stopped in mid-air, before landing on the paper to write, in bold strokes the equation: N + t = Y.
No + time = Yes
I knew that by the end of the seminar, the majority would be unhappy with the reorganization, but it wouldn’t be long before these same people would accept and happily acclimatize to a new environment. We will change, but we first say “no” to fresh ideas. Even those amazing (and often annoying) souls, who seem to accept everything with cheerful gratitude, must undergo a series of decisions before plunging headlong into the unknown.
And they lived happily ever after….well, that is until the end of the story which is,
Till death (or divorce) us do part…”
There is an end to a marriage. The statistics, no matter how you interpret them, confirm that divorce is a reality. And then there is death. The statistics are quite firm on that point. We are left with the unpleasant, if somewhat intimidating thought that, one way or another, there is an ending to the wedding story.
Over the years, I collected words to represent special days. Resolutions signify a New Year, gifts denote birthdays, hearts for Valentines, flowers for Mother’s Day, books for Father’s Day, and music for Christmas. These day-word pairings are rather obvious, especially when reinforced by the seasonal advertising campaigns that have the power to seduce even the hardened penny-pincher.
Weddings, on the other hand, are extra, extra special. Whether formal or informal, weddings are uniquely personal for two people who have chosen a life together. Friends and family come to celebrate their joy, but the day belongs to the couple. The only word that reflects the magnitude of a wedding is “vow”, a solemn promise.
In a grand story, there is always a quest, a journey towards a goal where the main players travel many miles into wild and dangerous territory, overcoming significant difficulties along the way to reach their final destination. I have lived through two or three remakes of Jason and the Argonauts seeking the Golden Fleece, not to mention Odysseus’s long and torturous voyage home. Even more famous is the quest for the Holy Grail of the Arthurian legend. My personal favourite, “Lord of the Rings”, is always a source of inspiration.
Just last week, I attended my niece’s wedding. Luminous and beautiful… she walked down the aisle, slowly, confidently, fearlessly. She was ready to let go of a past time, eager to embrace a new beginning. And that was when I realized, with singular clarity, she was on a quest.
I am one of those famous Baby Boomers. We are the generation that seemingly had everything going our way. Some people think we are, for the most part, selfish and have made fortunes at the expense of our children. And predictions are that we will burden the health care and pension systems to the point of bankruptcy. True, there are a lot of us coming through the life cycle at the same time. We have always liked to “stir the pot” just by being who we are. Our parents had great hopes that we would exceed their living standards and continue in their footsteps to build a better world for our children. History will be the judge of whether we have achieved either of these goals. I cannot speak for my entire generation, but I can share some thoughts from the perspective of an Aging Boomer.