Finding Bigfoot, by John Leone, Guess Blogger

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

I retired last week. They say that nothing is forever, so file that information under the “for what it’s worth” tab in the now non-existent cabinet in the non-existent desk in my non-existent office.  But at least for the moment, after 45 years of waking up in the morning with a clear set of tasks before me, my career North Star has drifted behind a cloud of uncertainty. Of course, I am lucky to still have a boss, but had I performed for my previous one the way I do for the current one, I’d have been out of work a long time ago. The “honey-do” list is seemingly ubiquitous and deadlines are a mere suggestion. But I’m muddling through. It’s certainly an adjustment.

As the weeks leading up to my final day grew shorter, my anxiety level rose. It was as if I was standing at the edge of a high dive for the first time. But the pleasant distraction of so many thoughtful notes, visits, and the kind well-wishes from so many friends and from folks with whom I’d crossed paths over so many years made it easier to take the plunge. It also gave me real pause to reflect on just how lucky I had been to have encountered so many good people along the way. Some I’d first met as high schoolers as I recruited them to Lafayette. Suddenly it seems, they now have high schoolers of their own.  Others were well-established professionals in their own right, more than willing to show me the ropes as I made the adjustment to a new career. So many more relationships were the result of some serendipitous confluence of events that brought us together. I’m always reminded of Forest Gump, who wondered aloud if we were all just floating around “accidental-like on a breeze” or if we all have a destiny that needs fulfilling. In the end, the conclusion he drew was the right one. It’s both, he reckoned. As a younger man, I fell in love with coaching basketball and made it my destiny to succeed. It was a strong breeze that took me in a different direction.

Upon my retirement and the obligatory farewell gatherings, one of those many well-wishes was from a wise and good friend. His message to me felt overstated and certainly humbling: “left a big footprint.” It got me thinking about what one of those looks like. My perception of a big footprint is so much different at 67 than it was when I was 22. For a big footprint to have impact, it has to be at least as deep as it is wide. At 22, I instinctively knew that the pursuit of my dreams would require a certain pace – one considerably quicker than the pace to which I’ve now grown accustomed. But by moving so quickly, was I compromising my impact? The truly successful folks I’ve known seem to have managed to do both – move quickly enough in the right direction, but with a pace that allows relationships to develop both depth and substance. Whether that is a lesson learned in time, or just a product of life taking its natural course is a discussion for another time. Whatever the case, the whole point here is to say how grateful I am for the people I have known. On occasion, someone will ask how I can remember something that happened years ago – something so seemingly inconsequential and even obscure. That’s an easy one because I’ve learned that true gratitude is when memories are stored in the heart, not in the brain. My memories are nothing more than that – true gratitude. Holding on to them is, for me, as natural as taking a next breath.

Life hasn’t always seemed fair, but it’s certainly been good. And every stage has had its own version of excitement and anticipation. As I enter the next one, I expect nothing less – and I hope for nothing more. I want to watch my family grow and develop, and I want to keep as closely connected as possible to my friends. I want to keep moving forward – leaving behind footprints that are as deep as they are long and wide. The pathway before me is clear, primarily because of the lessons learned from my parents – lessons of honesty, fairness, and service. Upon his own retirement, I recall my dad fending off a lot of fanfare. “Clean out the desk and go home,” he said. “A man’s work is his legacy.” He, like my mom, led by example, and theirs was a life of two fundamental components – love and work. After all, when you stop to think it through, what else is necessary?

At 22, I couldn’t have possibly understood those lessons the way I do now. At 67, their wisdom and vision is as relevant as ever – possibly even more so. Those lessons still provide the guideposts that will help ensure that this next stage is every bit as fulfilling as the ones that preceded it. And the footprints left will, hopefully, enable someone else to leave their own as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gary Laubach About Gary Laubach

Gary began his broadcasting career with Twin County in 1972. Twin County eventually became C-TEC and then RCN. Gary holds the dual role of Director of Media Services and Sports Director/Broadcaster. He currently broadcasts about 140 sports and entertainment broadcasts a year, and oversees the scheduling of all sporting events for RCN.

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