My retirement day from local government service came and went Friday, but I don't know what Douglas MacArthur was thinking about when he addressed Congress and expressed a desire to 'just fade away.' I wonder if he ever had second thoughts about making that statement. Just not my vision.
Tim impressed on me the importance of deliberately constructing memories, for at the end that's all we have - memorable life moments with memorable people. He also taught by example how to face significant endings (he was dying) and mold to the extent possible leaving on self-determined terms. So, after I processed the word "layoff," then elected to retire from the public sector after 25 years, and consciously worked at rapidly running through the five stages of grief about the loss of my job, I knew I had to deeply consider my last week at work and how I wanted to remember it and, as importantly, how I wanted my colleagues to remember me.
My retirement party was traditional Chico - a potluck lunch during lunch mid-week. My colleagues planned it and the decorations were apt (purple - a significant color to me), the room was filled with love from the people who were able to attend, and there were touching remarks made by my superiors about me.
I knew I would (and wanted to) address my co-workers, so I spent my off-hours for the last two weeks visualizing exactly what I wanted to say and the tone I wanted the lunch to take - something that would reflect my essence.
I realized you forget a lot very quickly (and thankfully). No more work deadlines, no more televised evening meetings after a long day at work, no more cranky citizens who critique without understanding, no more binders, no more paperwork piles. So, what I will remember is the achievements that mean something to me and the people who made it possible.
Due to the miracles of digital cameras, Jordan was able to film my address. It's spliced, diced and presented below in three parts. Total of about 15 minutes, and the final part in particular is the distillation of my mental construction of goodbye to a job that occupied a chunk of my life and friends I will no longer see on a day-to-day basis.
My address to the troops at my retirement lunch was deliberately upbeat and on my terms. I did not pull a morose MacArthur. Not Fade Away - not me.
Song Saturday: The song in the 'tube is Bee Gees - Nights on Broadway