Saturday, 11 May 2013

Happy retirement

Earlier this week, I was pleased to attend the retirement party of an ex-colleague of mine. I left the workplace more than 10 year ago but being such a special and close-knit community – a scientific society with only a few dozen employees – there were quite a number of us present who had changed jobs or retired ages ago. And she always was such a popular and well-thought-of co-worker it’s no wonder there were many who wanted to meet her on her special day.

She made her complete career in publishing so a personalized publication was compiled for her as the farewell present. Because I have always thought very highly of her, with very good reason I might add, as soon as I saw the invitation upon our arrival from Italy I decided to attend even if I knew I didn’t have the time to scribble anything in time to be included. Let this post be my contribution.

The newly retired is lively, bright and active, to put it briefly a colourful person, both externally and internally. She is a talented professional, resourceful and hard-working, full of energy and enthusiasm. She has the kind of honesty you do not often see. A constructive kind of outspokenness you just have to admire with a hint of envy at the back of your mind: I wish I dared speak my mind like that!

But even more than that I value and admire her for some of her other personal qualities. Such as her boldness. She is the one who will enter any new adventure fearlessly, the one who will lead the way to any unknown territory. She is the one who will cope in any situation and take the most of it without a trace of timidity in her. She is the one by whose side you will want to stay if you are in a strange place and uncertain about what you should do next.

And her joie de vivre. There will never be a dull moment in her company. Her table will always be the one with no empty seats, the one with the loudest and longest merry-making. At her table, there must always be something delicious to eat and drink. Conversion will be lively, witty and noisy. The topics may be anything between heaven and earth. There will be much laughter, there may even be some singing and dancing. But whatever there is, when sitting at her table you will truly feel smitten by the joy of life. Everyone should be blessed with at least one friend like that.

Dear M, may the sun continue shining upon you and your loved ones just as, I’m sure, your charisma will keep on glowing on those who are fortunate to know you. Because of people like you the world is a better place – and so much more fun!

I took the above photos sitting at a table in an outdoor restaurant by the square in Vernazza (Cinque Terre, Liguria, Italy) a couple of weeks ago. I knew there had to be a reason for my overwhelming fascination for that particular spot on Earth at that particular moment. The below collage shows how it was at the retirement party in Helsinki. (More on Vernazza here.)

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