Have you ever noticed how differently you feel looking back at an experience than you did going in? For instance, think about your first impressions of a new job or a person who eventually became integral in your life.
I still remember what one of my best friends was wearing the first time I saw her. I thought she was beautiful and cool, and I couldn’t imagine having a heart-to-heart with her or laughing so hard soup comes out your nose. (It’s happened!) Fast-forward too many years to count. We’ve since bunked together, travelled together, donned fancy bridesmaid dresses for each other, watched our kids play. . . . I’ve seen her naked in every sense of the word. She’s part of my life and part of me. It’s hard to imagine I once thought of her as unapproachable and removed.
I’m reminiscing because this is my last issue at Chatelaine, and I’m trying to describe how I feel after four years of living and breathing this iconic brand. (Side note: The word brand seems too cold and impersonal for the personality I’ve come to know and love.)
Chatelaine represents so many thoughts, ideals and people that it’s hard to sum up in words. Its personality has been shaped by the passion, inspiration, frustration, controversy, love, history, luck, tragedy, hope, style, creativity, resolve, humour and opinion of so many people over the years: The people who read it. The people who’ve worked on it. The people whose lives inspire its stories. The people who write in to compliment or complain, to chastise or celebrate it.
That means you, and that means me.
When I first walked into Chatelaine’s office in December 2009, it felt like a corporate headquarters: intimidating and unfamiliar. Now, as I pack my things (warm sweater for the over-air-conditioned days and flip-flops for the I-need-relief-from-my-heels days), this place feels like home: the kitchen where I could always go for a chat and a bite of something delicious, the boardroom we turned into a stylish lounge (’cause that’s how we roll) and the wonderful people I looked forward to seeing every day. It’s now all part of my life and part of me.
As I depart Chatelaine, I’m at once proud, sad and excited for the next chapter — in my life and in the life of this great magazine. And I look forward to being part of its future, as a loyal reader.
So here we are, ready to launch into a new year. None of us know what’s around the next corner. Maybe you’ll meet a new friend. Maybe an opportunity will come out of nowhere and surprise you. Saying goodbye is part of growing and evolving, so “Bye” for now. “So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night . . . ” (I can’t really get any cheesier than quoting a song from The Sound of Music — I’m just trying not to cry).