I always think this phrase is an odd one. Isn’t every day the first day of the rest of your life? However, I guess there are some days that are a bit more monumental than others, and today is certainly one of those.
Tomorrow is my last day with IBM. I graduated from college with a degree in Computer Science in 1987. Back in my day, everyone in the techie world wanted to work for IBM. Big Blue was the place to be; a great company with unparalleled talent, and a core value of Respect for the Individual. It was everything I imagined. I loved my boss, my coworkers, and the work we did. We were a team. We were rewarded when we did great things. We were appreciated and we knew it.
Somewhere down the line, that all changed, and it still makes me sad. However, they paid all my bills, sent me to Duke for an MBA, and helped me travel around the world to some amazing places for the greater part of almost 30 years. I have met some of the most talented, amazing, funny, kind people I have ever known at this company. Many of them helped me through the darkest days of my life. I will miss them, but I know many will be lifelong friends. While I will always be disappointed that the Big Blue ride switched from respect and loyalty to executives insisting you prove your worth through blog posts and Powerpoint presentations, I certainly appreciate the lifestyle and friendships that IBM has allowed me to enjoy.
Last year, I turned 50. In Ireland, which was amazing. My life is more than halfway over. A lot of “stuff happened” last year. In hindsight, it was probably one of the best years of my life, even when it didn’t feel that way. It forced me to really look at my priorities. And my dreams. As most anyone reading this will know, I have run a non profit organization “in my spare time” for the past 15 years. For the past few years, that work has been the equivalent of a 2nd full time job, done nights and weekends. I have known for awhile that it was time to make some changes. But it was a very long leap off a very tall and comfortable cliff and it was super scary. It still is. But it’s time. Way Past Time.
So off I go joyfully into Part II of my life’s journey. The part where I wake up every day and know that I am making a difference in peoples’ lives. The part where I know my destiny on God’s Earth is finally being fulfilled. I hope Horse and Buddy is ready for me, because I am ready to be their full time fearless leader.
I don’t know how this will all work out, but what I know for sure is that life is short. We aren’t guaranteed one more day. We are here to help others. We are supposed to make a difference. What are we waiting for?