A lot of stuff has happened over the last few weeks that has caused some deeper self-reflection than I have been indulging in of late. A couple of things have also happened in the last couple of days which really got my head delving inwards; mainly the re-appearance of an old friend and meeting my new boss (why does he have to be distractingly attractive?).
After chatting with my new boss I have been totally hyper-actively happy. I am finally starting to calm down now a full 48-hours after our meeting, but moving into a rather spaced state of mind as a consequence. After finding out more of what I'm going to be doing it finally struck me that 5 years post graduation this is it, the first job where I'm going to have direct responsibility for setting and helping achieve an organisation's strategic objectives. I'm going to be allowed to get fully out and about, build networks and make contacts on my own merits. I don't think 5 years is bad, and my current job has allowed me to jump about 2 levels in the system in which I work, something which I will be eternally grateful for - as I'm not very good at being patient enough to "work through the grades". I know its going to be a lot of hard work, but I am so much happier when I have a lot to do. My boss seems like a pretty genuine guy, who likes his job and the majority of people he has to work with and there is support from the really senior staff for what we're going to be doing.
The re-appearance of an old friend has put who I am now compared with who I was when I graduated in clearer perspective. After a very close 5 years or so of friendship things became a struggle between us, for reasons which I am still not entirely clear about. Anyway, she has got back in contact and given me her take on events. I feel one of the things that has changed about me since Uni is a greater capacity to put myself in other people's shoes - I guess that is a big part of maturity. Not that I always manage it in the moment, but with a bit of time I try and see where someone else is coming from. So, although my perceptions of events were fairly different, to me that really doesn't matter now. I don't want to re-hash the whos, what, wheres and hows...
If we can be friends again, then of course I want to be friends again. A lot of that depends on who we both are now I guess. And who exactly am I now? For me the biggest changes in my self identity have been since Uni, not when I was a teenager. Getting into work, living in the "real world" (not the student one), working through all sorts of stuff with Husband, buying houses, re-locating far away from family and friends.... all of these things have shaped me more than I realised at the time. I hope I'm more tolerant generally, but a little more selfish than I used to be with my time and who I choose to spend it with (a good thing for me, believe me). I have a clearer sense of my own political and moral standpoints and I'm more willing to argue on behalf of them when it matters, and more likely to leave them drop when it doesn't.
One of the things I value most are "old friends" - which I guess why this re-appearance has focused my reflections. I don't have friends from secondary school - for a number of reasons - but my Uni friendships are coming up to 8 years now... and the ones that have lasted, even if I no longer see the individuals as often as I'd like, are really precious to me. The comfort and peace of spending time with old friends is a real treasure - no expectations, no harsh judgements, just support and laughter. I find these friendships feel pretty much effortless now, to me (and I hope to them) it doesn't matter if we don't see each other for weeks or months - it we're still "us". For those "old friends" who read this blog, you mean the world to me still.