small expectations. BIG JOY!

Unexpected joy found in all the right places.

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On 12/31/2020, I retired from my 40 1/2 year bank job. Don’t get me wrong, that part was a pretty big deal. In other years, when a bank officer retired, there were several festivities, but during a pandemic, plans were squelched, which was completely understandable. There was no disappointment on my part, just complete agreement.

I envisioned that my last day in the office, 12/22/2020, would progress uneventfully. I would simply work and walk out. No fanfare, just a typical, ho-hum-hairy-dog day. I was wrong. Here’s what brought me joy. BIG joy!

  1. During December, the bank organized a card shower, seeing as I was very visible bank-wise, but also community-wise. Three or four cards might dribble in, as fewer people buy cards anymore. Major underestimation! A count hasn’t been tallied, but it has to be over 100! It’s 2021 and they’re still arriving! (Note: I now find joy in colored envelopes! (White ones can mean work is inside of them.)
  2. Mid-morning, last day: the staff trickled into our (closed) lobby, where my desk was located. They social distanced around the oddly quiet room and stared at me. “What’s going on?” I asked. The bank president said some nice words and then presented me with a basket of gifts when I truly expected nothing. Surprise is joyful!
  3. A best friend and former co-worker, Michele, invited me for a last-day lunch. I accepted if we could keep it safe. She carried out fabulous pasta and we sat in a nearby gazebo. It was cold and windy, but sunny and joyfully glorious!
  4. At 5:00 p.m. I entered my home, like every other night. My son and daughter-in-law were on face-time from Louisiana! Four glasses of champagne bubbled on the table, in front of the screen. Balloons and a bouquet also sat on the table. Our daughter, Korey, and her fiancé, Spencer’s 85 pound puppy jumped into a full body hug. There was Korey standing off to the side! They arrived, from Chicago, a day early in order to celebrate my retirement! BIG JOY!

The lesson in all of this for me is that joy bubbled up in unexpected places, because I was honest and realistic about any type of celebration. I’d considered all of the properties of retiring at a time like this and I seriously expected left-over chicken for dinner that night. And a left-over-chicken-kind-of-day would have been just fine, too.

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