Guest Appearances & Happy Faces

A group of us went out this evening to have a few cocktails as we counted down my last few days at the agency. Drinks were had, a prime rib made a cameo here and there, and stories were shared. While somewhat bittersweet, it was one of the best Wednesdays ever.

Some in the gathering I’ve known longer than others, but all of them I adore. Some have given their freelance talents, while others have been there through thick and thin, late nights, all nighters and early mornings. Some are older than others, but all of them have touched my life in a way that they’ll never know. They’ve made me a better person on some days, made me wish I was a better person on others, some I wish I knew better, while others I’m confident I’ll continue to know for years to come.

I kept the cocktailing in check, but still managed to shuffle up to the mic for a karaoke tune. Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” is my go-to, and it was semi-slaughtered tonight. (I blame the show-off who brought his harmonica for making me nervous, and I blame the gal with the augmented girls sheathed in a black tube top for throwing me off my game.)

When I arrived earlier this evening, I’d forgotten that one of Torrance’s best restaurants/bars/lounges/dimly lit gems was also next to a pre-school named Happy Face. I suppose it’s a fitting name, as people who go there and bond with the bar for any amount of time likely leave with a smile on their countenance, and kids who attend the school probably can’t wait to get home so they can be more than 20 feet from such an establishment. Jokes aside, they do have a darned fine prime rib, tremendous atmosphere and my night was filled with happiness thanks to those I was honored to share a few post-work drinks with.

I thought the night was going great, and then Fisher and Laws showed up. The night went from great to stupendous. Fisher’s one of the first few people I met at the agency when I started as an intern way back when, so it’s fitting that he was there for goodbye drinks. And Laws helped launch our beloved client into the NASCAR truck series back in ’04, so it’s only natural that the end of an era which saw racing campaigns produced year after year after year was marked by his appearance this evening, as well. They’ve both moved on from the agency we all called home at one time or another, and each lives thousands of miles from Torrance. But their guest appearance in the area and at a familiar haunt tonight was the perfect reassurance that moving on is normal, part of life and that everyone can and should do it — in some form or another.

I’ll miss them all, but any season is a good season for change, and change is in the air. Happy faces were had by all tonight, and I’m beyond excited for new opportunities.

Tonight I am thankful for all the people who have made my career-to-date everything it has been (I’ve loved it), who made the night what it was (who says beverages on a school night aren’t a good idea?) and who reminded me that moving on is nothing less than an adventure (we all know it, but sometimes it’s so hard to do). It’s easy to forget that the spirit can thrive on change if we allow ourselves to embrace it, and it felt like everyone tonight made up my own personal cheering section.

I heart each of you.

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