I am very lucky to have so many older friends and mentors.
I went to a funeral yesterday for the man who hired me at my present job. He was so smart that I often had to make him stop talking while I plodded through his explanation and caught up to his train of thought. I would then say "go" and he would continue explaining. I never did get good enough to understand his entire explanation first time through without stopping. (I did learn enough that I could go away and figure out the missing steps on my own!)
He was obnoxious, sometimes rude, brilliant, stubborn, sometimes funny, sometimes incredibly crude, and a very good man. He cared about the community, his friends, his family and his work. He worked many, many hours a week and loved it. He always championed the underdog. (I think that's why he took me under his wing.) He introduced me to some of my favorite clients and always told people I was great. His recommendation was often all I needed to win a new client.
On the way back to work after the funeral I started to think about those older people that I am losing. There have been several amazing people who have died in the last few years. They were mostly in their 80s. I understand that no one lives forever, but I will always miss their advice and support. I started to think about the possibility that I might be a person who could provide that kind of advice and support to someone else. It seems like such a big responsibility! I feel like I am slowly losing my "net." I hate to think that I will soon be the older and more experienced generation. I better work harder or I will not be up to it.
I just wish I had thanked him before he left.