It’s terribly embarrassing, but I had a colleague point out to me that I still use “we” when talking about my former employer, even in the present tense. I’m aware that I do that quite a bit, and my convenient excuse is that my current organisation is a statutory board under my previous organisation, so technically, we’re still one big happy family. I think I’ve gotten my finger on what it is:
It’s a case of classic elder-sibling mentality, where most of my relationships are strongly rooted in a natural tendency to protect and nurture. Even now I feel for my ex-colleagues at times when they seemed swamped with work, guilty that I’m not there in the trenches with them. Like Andy Croll once commented, I seem to have an overly developed sense of “duty”.
Letting go of things past is something I’m still learning, and it’s always easier to pretend that everything stays the same and our divergent pathways in life won’t change anything. I’ve let friendships slide over the years, but whenever we meet up there’s this half-truth, half-play-acting that we’re still close even though Facebook status updates and a shared past is all that holds the pieces together. As the years pass, we collect more and more of such pieces, eventually having to lay some of them down in order to move on.