We were friends long before we were colleagues. Like raise families, know the real stuff about each other, well deeper than the surface kind of friends.
Like dream of ideas and side hustles and somedays together.
Over some freelance projects and late night emails, and “hey man, no pressure but we need some help (but unsaid: holy crap, I sure hope he has the bandwidth to say yes b/c he’s the best in the business)” texts, we finally strung enough revenue and projects together to ask him to join our team full time.
Maybe that goes against conventional wisdom. Somebody smarter than me said to never hire your friends.
I’m just glad I get to work with my friend every day.
A few months into his new gig, we grabbed dinner together with our wives. Part “hey, is this thing working ok still?” Part, “man, we need to do this more often, but kids and life and work…”
After a bit of the usual catch-up, his wife jumped in with a story. Those always get my attention.
“We were on a walk . Right in the middle of the day. The girls were ahead, and the two of us looked at each other, and he said, ‘man, is this really my life?'”
Damn onions in the room hit strong in that moment for Brooke and me both.
He couldn’t get over the fact that he was doing work he loved, from where he loved doing it, and was able to orient it all around the real loves of his life: those four women he shares a last name with.
Wiping our eyes, we expressed our gratitude for her sharing their story. After years of that not being their reality, it was now.
I think we get stuck putting off the “man, is this really my life” season of life for some future time when there’s more money in the account, or less risk, or for someone to grant permission to go on a walk while the sun is still shining.
I think we stuff down desires, delay dreams, and hide in plain sight waiting for someone else to take the reins of life, instead of stepping into the agency we’ve been God-given.
I think it’s really hard and scary to admit when we’ve fallen asleep to ourselves and traded pieces of our souls and story in envy and jealousy of the highly edited highlight reel of someone else’s.
And I think I’m just scratching the surface in my own life as I become more aware of the reality of how meaningful, and paradoxically, how fleeting, it all is.
Is this really my life?
In the dysfunctional and beautiful parts, with a bit of bravery, I think there’s an invitation for us all to live, work, and build a life like my friend did.
As messy, painful, and promising as that sounds.