Several years ago, in a city somewhat far away, I was introduced to my first truly awesome Holiday Gathering that was not family-related. It was my first job out of school and the party was a simple potluck gathering in the home of a coworker. It was a roomful of women (with the 2 token guys — female dominated profession!), eating good food, having a little bit of wine/coffee/tea/what have you, having great talks, and most importantly, every so often, the room would erupt into loud, unabashed, infectious laughter. The first time I heard it (and participated in it), I knew I had stumbled onto something very special indeed. It felt like a wave of… good, it was just good… washed over me. It was an incredible feeling. I paid attention and appreciated the moment, because I knew I was so lucky to be a part of it. We got to repeat the fun for showers and retirements as well, but the holiday parties definitely trumped all. I loved being a part of that group of (mostly) women, of all ages and stages in life, who still found so much in common. It never felt at all “work-party-ish” (if that can be a word. I say it can).
Our department was a large group of people working in pretty cramped quarters. I guess it is really one of those things where you either band together or it implodes. We not only banded, we bonded. Despite a few personality quirks, we genuinely enjoyed each other’s company so much that gatherings outside of work were fun because it meant we got to talk to each other about stuff outside of work (well, some shop talk crept in, but not much!). While I don’t regret my decision to move, I so miss having these people in my daily life and would seriously make the pilgrimage to the party every year if they hadn’t had to put a limit on guests (word got out about how much fun they were having and it just got too big to handle). I think about that party every year at this time.
All was not lost, for when I made my big move, back to this place that is not so far away, I again experienced such good luck as to fall in with colleagues who could do a pretty great potluck up right. The food, the wine, the talks and the laughter were all there, and it was wonderful. We never did a holiday party, but there were enough showers, etc. to attend, that we got to experience that wonderful energy.
I found myself especially nostalgic for the far away party this year, when I found myself with really nothing like that on the radar. While I am no longer at my other workplace and I am not in any place that is lesser or with people who are any less fun, it just wasn’t happening this year. Or so I thought.
I should really know better, and know that as humbling a thought as it is, the Universe was looking out for little old me, and wouldn’t let me down. This year, I have been so privileged as to fall in with a small group of women who mesh so nicely together, that I have a hard time remembering when we didn’t know each other as well. We travelled together this summer, saw each other at our best and (for me) most vulnerable and became so much more than faces in each others’ photos.
Last night we had a holiday gathering. Last night, the food was delicious and the wine/coffee/tea flowed and the talking never ceased and the laughter was so loud and so plentiful that I am surprised we didn’t wake the neighbourhood! Last night brought me back to those holiday parties of yore and I realized I had again somehow, by some wonderful circumstance, found myself in a community of women who find joy in each others’ company. It was a true delight and my cheeks hurt by the end of the night from the merriment (especially surrounding one regifted-gift giving, but that is not my story to tell).
I have yet to work out what is a little gushy, and what is a lot gushy, and I think I am nearing the latter, so I will end with this: Thank you ladies, for a wonderful party! Please let’s do this again soon.
*Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, “Be excellent to each other.” “Party on, dudes!” Who knew that there might actually be wisdom in those words?