I attended a colleagues 10 year cube call last Friday. A very dear friend of ours, Jason Gilet had been at Veeva for a decade. It was lovely to celebrate with him. It made me happy to spend an hour in the company of friends. I started at Veeva when there was hardly any Europeans and the assignments I had were all US based. So it is that my longest known pals are of the American. So there I was on Friday evening, on a zoom full of American Veevans laughing.
Most that night had been at Veeva for 10 years and we all had a story. Veeva was less than 150 employees and we were all involved in pretty much everything together. The stories flowed, the laughs and ‘In jokes’ were back and forth. It was a joy to recollect how it was so much better back when things were obviously worse. Our futures were uncertain, our fortunes on a knife edge and it was harder to win anything. Yet still we talked that night with such enthusiasm for the past you would have thought they were our halcyon days.
As much as I was enjoying the stories on that call I could feel the presence of a reality somewhere over my shoulder. Close your eyes and we could have been back in 2011. Open your eyes and we were most definitely not, some of the lucky ones on the call look like time stood still, for most of us it had taken its inevitable toll. Some were young free and single in 2011 and now most have children, mortgages and the trappings of achievement.
I hung up the call around 9pm and walked from the home office to the main house with a warm feeling of happy memories. I stopped for a while to admire the garden and to think about that moment, the moment of seeing nostalgia slowly lapping on the shores of tonight. Then with the warm feeling cooled by the evening air I recalled Heraclitus:
“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man”Heraclitus
I enjoyed the Zoom call and the fun walk down memory lane. I do hope Jason enjoyed himself and knows for sure that he is loved by us all. The group we joined that night may look like the same group but just like that river it’s not the same. We are all older, we are hopefully wiser. The attraction of looking backwards was something I reflected on for the rest of the evening. Isn’t it strange how we hold on to the pieces of the past with longing unrivalled and yet all the while we wait for our future to arrive.
I often imagine returning to a time previous and whispering in the me of the past one simple phrase: “These days, right now, these were the good days”