You just never know who will take the seat to your left.
A few weeks back, I attended a Law Society of Saskatchewan seminar titled The Business of Law.
I arrived to the conference room. I registered. As I settled in to my seat towards the back of the room (always), a classmate of mine happened to walk by in the aisle on my right. We made eye contact and spoke for a few minutes about where we are each at these days. We agreed to connect and then she proceeded to walk to her seat.
I turned back straight and realized that somebody had taken the seat to my left.
I looked to see who it was.
Justin is a friend of mine who I haven't seen for about 7 years. Justin is super solid. Justin pretty much rocks.
As he had sat down, he didn't realize he was taking a seat beside me. He was just as surprised as I was.
Over the course of that day, we talked a lot about where we're each at, what we've been up to, and what some of our biggest challenges are. He got me caught up on Allison (his wife) and his two kids (kids!) and I got him caught up on my winding and evolving career path. We watched with unease over the break as the Google on his phone updated us over the ninth inning of a Jays game. We talked about the good ole days of law school debauchery. We high fived. And before we parted, I asked him if we could get a photo taken of us with my iPhone (he knew me back when I had cameras - he understood).
It wasn't just Justin in that seminar; I ran into about five different past colleagues or classmates. I talked with each of them. In doing so, I realized how far I've come, yet how nothing has changed.
Attending that seminar reminded me that no matter where your path takes you, the connections you've made will outlast everything else.
You can go without seeing a person for 7 years and pick up where you left off.
You can temporarily disengage from the practice of law, only to come back and be welcomed wholeheartedly in.
You can remember that the characteristics of who you really are never really changed - you just became more accurate and more happy.
The coolest and most unexpected part of that seminar, in addition to seeing Justin?
Feeling like a big part of me was back home. The law.