When a couple of friends decided to relocate cross-country, one of the biggest holes they were leaving in our lives was that of the epic social gatherings they regularly hosted. There were clever themes—like the “Fare Thee Weiner” Grateful Dead 50 webcast viewing—complete with whimsical FAQs and never any shortage of the best food, drinks, music, and good company.

Word came through that their new Western community had held a mediocrely received mac n’ cheese potluck, and we knew we had to respond. Thus, the East Coast MacDown was born. Cheesy invites were distributed, an online message board app was populated, and a fresh dose of competitive swagger was tossed about.

If there was every any doubt for the enthusiasm of a mac n’ cheese potluck themed party, the guest chefs pulled out all the stops. There were a few takes on the classic rendition with different noodle shapes—corskscrews proved very popular and shells were a nice variation. There was bacon mac, of course. Among the more creative renditions were pimento mac, and the star of the show—both in creativity and execution was the Reuben mac. That’s right, corned beef in swiss béchamel topped with sauerkraut and rye breadcrumbs. It might sound gross, but I assure you that one taste was enough to persuade any skeptic.

Clearly, this group of friends was inspired and eager to pay tribute to those that had moved on yet contributed so much over the years. While experiencing a big change can be bittersweet, we were all determined to make the most of it and in turn, create something new, yet in no way replacing what was no longer there. In missing our friends and the social events they cultivated such a rich community with, we were able to create the start of a whole new set of traditions.

Change is a force everyone can relate to whether we’d like to or not, along with its many different degrees of disruption. Attempting to deal with it positively requires remembering the lessons imparted, looking back with a nod to what worked and what didn’t, and then taking a savvy purview of the current state of affairs. Ask yourself: how do we pay tribute to the lessons of yesterday and create something positive in today’s unique climate?

Of course the challenges and fierce competition of today’s audiovisual and IT industry are much more serious than changing social customs, but I’m always surprised at how much bringing a little levity to tough situations can push us forward.