Tonight we got the band back together.
At least for a night.
I have spent the last couple of days in my old stomping ground, the city where I went to high school and college.
I made the return home to help an old colleague with a little project and tonight, three of my oldest friends and I got together for dinner and a trip down memory lane.
Of course, it took about half a second to hop into the way back machine.
These three amigos have been with me for pretty much all of my memorable moments from teenage life on, including marriage, parenthood, job and now unemployment.
My friends have all enjoyed tremendous success in the working world, two in my field, well my former field, and one in a world I know nothing about.
The stories we shared tonight ranged from professional to preposterous, but they all felt right.
Whether it was about that crazy night in college – TWENTY FIVE YEARS AGO – or something that one of the guys is working on now, there was never a pause in the conversation.
And all of this without judgment.
You could say WHATEVER you want and it would be ok.
And believe me, there was plenty of jabbing at each other. Nothing was off-limits.
Except for my unemployment.
Those were not my rules and actually there were no rules at all, but EVERY time I referenced my being out of work, usually in jest, one of the guys quickly made a positive comment.
I didn’t wear a white flag around my neck, as it wouldn’t have matched my shoes, but I guess my buddies wanted to make sure that there was no surrender in me.
I have not come close to giving up, although it would be pretty easy at this point.
In fact, I said several times that I am in such good spirits for most of my days, I feel like I am just one lottery ticket away from the perfect life.
I love being at home, I love the family time that unemployment has provided me, but I don’t love dipping into the safety net of my savings account each month to pay the bills.
Unless those lottery numbers come in soon, I’m going to need to get a job.
Unemployment is not cheap.
The moral support at our dinner was as strong as it has been since I was told 14 months ago that my services were no longer needed, but tonight it took on a new twist.
At one point, one of my friends leaned over and whispered that he is there to cover any expenses if I need the help.
Wow and ouch.
Wow, that is awesome.
And ouch, is that what this has come to?
I can’t put into words how appreciative I am of the offer, but I really hope that I am not becoming a charity case.
Knowing that an offer like that is as genuine and legitimate as our friendship, makes me feel amazing, but I truly hope I am never in a position where that is something that I really need to consider.
I have been able to avoid taking a job, just for the money, and hopefully I won’t have to.
When I go back to work, I want it to be a career and not a job. I don’t care if it is my old career or a brand new one, but I have always been one of the lucky ones to do something I love and not something I have to do.
Of course, my career choice doesn’t really matter to my friends, as long as I can find the time for a good meal.