Grateful

I had lunch today with a former coworker. Last night I prepared myself for the possibility that it could make me miss my job a bit. So I thought long and hard, “Do I miss it?”

The resounding answer was “No.” I can count on one hand, maybe one finger, the number of times I’ve missed my job in the past 8 months. I was ready to leave. Mentally and emotionally burnt out. Spent.

This morning before I left, I read this article titled “Generation Xhausted,” which describes the plight of professional parents in their late 30s. Good Lord did I identify with this. It talks about the challenges we face as “victims of two colliding trends” -having children later in life right as our careers are also peaking. Amen! Train wreck!

Reading it reaffirmed my decision to stay home.

So without any lingering doubt hanging over my head, I enjoyed the chance to catch up with my friend at lunch and hear the latest office gossip. Budding romances, client drama, happy hour shenanigans – I got all the scoop.

Then she informed me that a former business partner passed away last month of a heart attack. I only met him once and rarely worked with him.

But all day I’ve been thinking about him. He was a rare combination – extremely successful and good at his job, while being genuinely kind and smart. His reputation preceded him everywhere. Not to mention, he was working for and with organizations that truly make a difference helping those in need. Without a doubt, he made a positive impact in the world.

And while all of that makes for a tragic loss, the most gutwrenching part is that he was only 32. And his wife is pregnant with their first child.

On a day when I was already feeling the need to appreciate this time with my kids, away from the stress of a job, I can’t help but feel an even stronger need to savor every minute.

Even if it ends tomorrow, today I was lucky enough to watch my daughter take a 10 a.m. swim class on a Monday, followed by an afternoon trip to the zoo. One year ago, sitting at my desk at work, I never imagined this would be possible.

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