I have a reunion with my ex-colleagues every year. We had worked together in a previous job until the company closed down the Sydney centre and all of us got retrenched. Organized through Facebook, around 5 to 6 of us have a gathering regularly before Christmas as one of us works in Germany and he normally comes back Australia for Christmas and New Year holidays. We have this tradition for 10 years.
10 years ago, we were still young and confident, we thought we could develop the best products, become the market leader, and even change the world. The first setback was from the first downsizing when we saw our colleagues packed their belongings in a box and left. Then the second downsizing and finally the company decided to get ride of all of us. We moved apart, some re-start their career paths somewhere else and some keep doing contract work. Our dreams fade; we are suddenly getting old and facing a mid-life crisis.
In the reunion, other than catching up with each other’s status, we also talked about our renovated homes, new cars purchased, places travelled and the new gadgets we bought. We occasionally think back those memorable moments in the office while we were still working together and share a good laugh. Each also has their own problems: kids, wives, poor health and job insecurities. I don’t have their problems, according to them, my only problem is I’m still being single. Like an inmate in jail having visitors, they cannot solve your problems but at least you know someone in this world care about you and inspire you for a better tomorrow.
Two hours is the normal duration for the reunion. There are friends you only see them once a year. We will share the bill, shake hands and bless each other all the best. Then another year of uncertainty of not knowing exactly how life’s going to turn out. To survive, you don’t think about years, or months, or weeks. You think about today – how to get through it, how to survive it. When you wake up tomorrow, another day is behind you. The days add up; the weeks run together; and the months become years. You realize how tough you are, how you can function and survive because you have no choice.