YOU received an invitation to a probable once-in-a-lifetime reunion with former co-employees, whom you’ve not seen for some 25 to 40 years. The damage is negligible at P500 per head. But money is nothing when you’d like to relive your pleasant experience with former colleagues who, at times, made your work life difficult. More than anything—overall, your past employment proved to be challenging, fruitful and interesting that you’d like to cherish.
Sometimes, you’re thinking very hard. You don’t want to see some toxic people who committed serious offense against your person. Questions: Would you attend the reunion under the pretext of forgive and forget? Why or why not? For me, it was an easy decision.
Past is past. And it’s time to reminisce the good old days by meeting sincere friends, shaking hands, kissing cheek-to-cheek, eating good food, drinking wine and retelling stories that, even if they’re too old and corny can still make people blurt out a genuine laugh.
Any company reunion is always a welcome opportunity for us. Of course, some people are equally prone to have a different view. Just because they were happy before doesn’t mean they are happy today. And let’s leave them at that.
Some people would feign death. If not, they’ll claim they’re suffering from AIDS (as-if-doing-something) and they don’t want their illness to contaminate people or they don’t want to spoil a party for their pitiful appearance, or they don’t want to admit their true sexual orientation that showed late in life, no matter how obvious it has become to many.
Most people, however, prefer to have the pleasure of reuniting with old friends, never mind how they endure the pain of gout and rheumatism. Never mind white hair. It’s a sign of maturity. Further, we don’t mind swallowing certain pills, immediately after partaking fatty food. It’s all about the individual’s appreciation of pleasure and pain and how they’d like to meet their former comrades, whom we best remembered as the group who stole ball pens, reams of bond paper and boxes of paper clips from the office.
In professional business journalism, the first thing we do is to check out this type of phenomenon—in this case—on seeking out pleasure over pain and try to label it with a buzzword. The sum total of my research goes back to Austrian neurologist and psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) who described it as the “pleasure principle.” It is the instinctive nature of man to actively seek enjoyment (or pleasure) while avoiding displeasure (or pain) to satisfy biological and psychological needs.
It’s the same pleasure principle that some men are dependent upon if and when they have the time, money and opportunity. They’ll go to a night club full of twerking, bare-breasted young women in the midst of dancing lights, rugged music, tobacco smoke and cheap cologne covering the smell of unbathed bodies. If pleasure is more desirable and important, then the pain of being caught by one’s girlfriend or spouse becomes secondary.
Armed with Freud’s “pleasure principle,” sometimes, you wonder why religious people like priests and nuns would go the extent of seeking the loneliness and pain of celibacy. If we’re to follow Freud’s theory, pious people would appear abnormal. But the truth of the matter is—celibacy is the ultimate pleasure they want in life. It’s not at the same level that we ordinary mortals want.
Priests and nuns want to enjoy pleasure until their last breath and beyond. It’s like saving the best for last. It’s like eating the best part of the meal last.
So my thinking is this: Take every opportunity to attend company reunions, whenever you can, much more at your old age. Take the high road to meet old friends and foes, no matter their current physical and mental status in life. Never mind if their retirement pay went down the drain in less than six months.
Never mind if they come with a borrowed BMW to show off, compared to your time-tested, battered Toyota Corolla. After all, it’s not what you have in life that’s important but your genuine passion to remain friends with everyone. In which case, don’t offer me to drink your favorite mix of beer-gin-coke.
I’m driving a Porsche lent to me by my son.
Rey Elbo is a business consultant specializing in human resources and total quality management as a fused interest.
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