I’ve never really understood the meaning of “the circle of life,” and that’s after watching four different productions of The Lion King with my grandchildren.
Nevertheless, a weird series of events has been unfolding for me as I move through the last quarter of my life. More and more, it feels like things are circling back on themselves to create personal, almost spiritual, connections.
The first “circle” I noticed was when my mom and dad came to live with Sherry and me during the last years of their lives. Over my early adulthood and beyond, I’d had few meaningful connections with my parents. During a difficult period of my life, I had even attempted to blame them for my many problems, which, in retrospect, were entirely self-imposed. But before their deaths in 1999, I felt a deep joy, love and respect for both of them. Our relationship had come full circle.
My professional work has been another significant aspect of my life. Early on, I stumbled often and was helped up by wiser, more experienced bosses and fellow employees. I slowly grew a set of skills and, with a bit of luck, established and nurtured a corporation that has flourished beyond my expectations and grown into a major player in the field of behavior change. Over the last few years, I’ve been letting go, giving the leadership role to those gifted and loyal employees who have trusted me and our mission. Now, with great joy and appreciation, I’m on the outside looking in. Another circle completed.
Which takes me to my upcoming 50th class reunion at Lyons Township High School. Since leaving the doors of this suburban Chicago school in 1963, I have never reentered the building. And until very recently, I have had no communication with former classmates. Thanks to a fabulous website, I learned that, out of the 850 students that graduated in 1963, 108 were deceased, and another 91 were unreported, leaving 651 who had stories to share.
So I signed up to attend the reunion this October and move back in time. Immediately, I received dozens of emails and phone calls from high school friends who had played major roles in my formative years. We shared emotional and heartfelt memories, exploring how our lives had continually changed, how we had worked through different bumps, bruises and bailiwicks over the years, and how we had grown in understanding and love. I realized each friend had a unique story to tell, but we also were connected by our times and common experiences.
I sense another circle connecting. God, life is fabulous.
About the author
Since founding The Change Companies® in 1988, Don has worked with approximately 150 agencies and corporations, tailoring Interactive Journals to serve those working and participating in the caring professions. His collaborative efforts in substance use, justice services, impaired driving, healthcare and education have consistently focused on helping individuals explore the process of positive personal change.
Earlier in his career, Don worked in many industries, including hotel management, publishing, higher education administration and healthcare business development. Along the way, he created numerous companies, experiencing both successes and failures. Many of these life lessons and joyous observations found their way into Don’s recent book, The Adventures of Binder-Man.
Don is most proud and appreciative of the outstanding employees who have shaped The Change Companies® for over two decades.
Word of the Week
Middle English had a word, baillifwik, that was used to explain the boundaries of jurisdiction for officers of the law. You might even recognize a familiar word within the term: “bailiff.” Combine this word for an officer with the Old English wic for “village” and you get a literal explanation of one’s legal sphere of authority. Today, the word is used in a more metaphorical sense, referring to a subject in which one has a particular skill or interest.