Nearly every weekday morning — like today — I enter my office lobby and give the guards at the reception desk a sheepish grin. This is because I am constantly – constantly – losing my ID badge. The guys expect this of me, and sometimes I think they’re disappointed when I can produce it from the bottom of my bag, flashing a big “I told you I’d find it one of these days” grin. It doesn’t help that I became famous with the security staff after the 2006 Elevator ID Incident. I had stepped into a crowded elevator, turned around and watched in horror as my badge tumbled from my fingers and dropped down that little gap between the sets of doors — right down the elevator shaft 20+ floors. It was like a movie in slow-mo. “Noooooooo…..” Everyone was in shock because I proved someone could be clumsy enough to actually drop something down that tiny crack.
Anyway, this morning I fumbled around in my bag for my f–g badge and couldn’t find it. For posterity’s sake and because procedures are procedures, I signed in, but lo and behold, what do I find in the very same bag when I sat down at my desk? $100! No. I found my ID, buried deep in a pocket that never seems deep enough when I need it to be.
So this is where I’m going to segue into the trip I’m taking tomorrow. Please humor me. I’m going to New York City for a not quite 20-year reunion with friends and former colleagues. We were all in a management training program at a large firm — 22 of us in total, most right out of college. We came from all over the country and the world. I lived in NJ with my family and took the PATH train into the World Trade Center every morning, emerging into the hustle of lower Manhattan, the Wall Street area. Now 10 of us are meeting up in our old stomping grounds.
In spite of the outrageous cost for 30 hours in New York (I’m telling you: outrageous) I’m excited to go. I saw 3 of my friends as recently as last year, 1 at my wedding in the mid-90’s and the rest not since ’91. Of those coming to the reunion, all of them are married or in serious relationships. Most have children. Many of them live on the East coast and in the NY tri-state area. To my knowledge most of them are still working in the same business.
And all of that got me thinking.
I’m at a place in my life where I’m happier and more accepting of myself than I’ve ever been. I’ve become more confident, less concerned about what other people think about me. I’ve found something I’d like to turn into a career somehow, someday: writing. Yet sometimes I feel like I’m learning things all backwards or out of order, and that sometimes I’m jumping between the old and new me. Let me explain:
I went to a good school and received a responsible business degree. I lived at home and commuted to my job in NY to save money and be practical and because the city intimidated me some. I had my own apartment for a year near home, then lived with my second serious boyfriend (my second boyfriend, period), who is now The Ex. We moved to Pittsburgh, got married, built a house, had 2 beautiful kids and all was good.
Except I realized all was not good — for me. We divorced. I bought my first place on my own. I realized my career in corporate America wasn’t nearly as fulfilling as I had hoped it to be. I discovered writing. I started dating again, determined to DATE! this time around. I found it to be as amusing and annoying as my brief experience had been decades before — except this time it was more tiring and challenging because I was a single mother. I continued learning how to be a better parent and to be more self-sufficient.
I’ve been learning a lot.
I’ve been jumping between worlds: a single, “child-free” woman every other weekend with single/no kids friends, then a soccer mom in suburbia with other parents who are all married. I like many aspects of my job and I’m good at it, but I’d move in a heartbeat — not for the same thing down the road, but for the “right,” very different opportunity. I live in the suburbs, but I suspect I’d want to try living in a city…at least for a little while. Maybe even a city like New York.
So, I’m excited to go and visit the Big Apple and to meet up with everyone tomorrow. We started our careers looking forward and, while sometimes I feel like I’ve done things out of order, I’m enjoying the present and still looking forward. I’m guessing my ID was in that pocket all along. Thank god I found it somewhere along the way.