This summer I’ve taken on the task of preparing a history covering almost thirty years (give or take) of a professional organization. Although not a very active member recently, I served in one (volunteer) leadership capacity or another for about sixteen of those thirty years being covered and am humbled to be tasked with the job.
As I work on the outline/first draft for what will become this document, I find myself mired in memories of the past. Wistful and longing for old friends, many of whom I’ve not been in regular contact for some time, after pivoting my career direction. Some friends have passed away, a good number are retired, yet all were significantly influential in my formative years as a young professional. Although the project does not require me to record their individual contributions, each person is alive and loved as I recall these experiences.
Today I do not know the younger generation that stepped up to lead the organizational vision and direction. From the outside looking in, it appears changed, as all things evolve with time; however, my experience reminds me that one’s perception from the outside is not the same as engaging face to face in dialogue on common ground in a common interest. They will make the organization their own, just as we made it ours, carrying it forward from those who came before.
If COVID hadn’t created this irritable social distancing necessity, I would be out reconnecting in person, attending meetings, seminars, and workshops if for no other reason than to renew old friendships and make new ones. Until then, I stir these memories into life for the future generations, even if it means revisiting the past with a tender heart.