Writing 101 – June 2014 Challenge – Lost and Found

In this blog assignment, we are to write about something that we lost at some point in our lives, and it may or may not have been found again later.  This may be a material possession or something less tangible.

For me, I think back to my days working at Assiniboine Park Zoo, from 1999-2006.  I was age 18 – 25.  These were 7 special years in my life.  On the one hand, I was still in the closet, and struggling with how to come out of the closet in a religiously conservative family.  That aspect of my life made for some hard years in this time period.

However, at the same time, one of my saving graces that made these some awesome years despite the personal challenges was the fact I worked at the Zoo.  I worked with some special people who became close friends I cherish to this day. I got to work up close and personal with some amazing animals, and have some experiences I will cherish and smile and laugh at forever.  And I had a job where I was allowed to grow, learn, and flourish, working with co-workers and a manager who were more than that; they were good people, and my friends.

The loss came when a large wave of us resigned in 2006.  There was a shakeup of management, and many people left the Zoo.  Today, increased government investment of dollars has made the Zoo a much healthier place than it used to be. However, many of us left because it was not the same place it had been for so long. It was like a big family, and in 2006 that was changed.

Although I am happy the Zoo has undergone a positive transformation in Winnipeg, I am still often sad about the loss of such a fun and unique workplace that my friends and I got to work within for so many years. Although I have a good job today, it is not nearly the same level of enjoyment and closeness with others that I enjoyed at the Zoo.

I haven’t found a place where I connected with co-workers and developed lasting friendships since I left the Zoo in 2006. And I am not sure if I ever will. And although I haven’t found a place like that again, maybe that is okay. The memories and sometimes melancholy feelings will always hold a special place in my heart. And I can enjoy the ongoing friendships into the future, even though I don’t have the past physical location to work at 50+ hours a week.

The Zoo was a truly special place, and it helped me get through some hard years in my personal life, and even made those hard years some special and enjoyable years. Although I do miss that amazing place, at the same time why would I want those special memories to be replaced or repeated?  The truth is they can’t be “repeated,” all that can be done is to move forward and continue striving for more positivity, in different permutations.

After all, life is about moving forward, and continuing to build on positive memories, and learn from past challenges, to create a present and future that you can be happy and proud of.