It’s been a crazy year. A new home, a new job, a baby. For the last six weeks, the combination of lack of sleep, diapers and holiday insanity has rendered my brain mostly useless. With 2009 coming to a close, I feel a little bit of the fog lifting and am very much looking forward to an exciting 2010. But before turning the page, a few thoughts on what the last year has taught me.
The “risky” thing is rarely as risky as it seems.
Jumping from an established company with equity to take a pay cut at a job that is no sure thing might sound insane. And for a while, it did. But the last six months have taught me more than the last three years. I’ve met amazing, ridiculously talented people, have been trying to solve some very big problems, and have generally had a blast. Regardless of what happens in the next few years, I think the scary decision was the right one.
If you have the right partner, you’re 90% of the way there.
Most women would not have been keen on the idea of jumping ship for a startup 4 months before their first child is born. My wife is not one of those people. For the duration of our short marriage, she has been a constant source of encouragement. She believes in me more than I do. And even when I screw up, she helps me get up and try again. It’s hard to overstate how much of an impact the right woman can have on your life.
I learned how to let go of having to be in control of everything
I’ve watched as two extremely capable men have guided Morpho successfully during the last year with very little direct input from me. I’ve watched as Jelly has continued to grow and thrive in the hands of Jeff. I’ve watched how my last company has continued to plug right along after Matt and I left. And while I don’t think I’m any less valuable to a team, I have learned that life goes on without me, and that things can work amazingly well even if I don’t have my grubby hands involved.
Most importantly, I now know what everyone has been saying all these years about becoming a parent.
I know what it feels like to wake up in a cold sweat after a nightmare about your child. I know what it’s like to hear the smallest noise coming from the other side of the house. I know what it’s like to hold a little person for the first time like he’s made of glass.
I know what it’s like to have a dormant, cold heart ripped open. I know what it’s like to discover how selfish you are. I know what it’s like to go from 8 hours of sleep to 4 and not care. I know what it’s like to spend hours trying to come up goals for the next year and constantly thinking to yourself that having a happy, healthy boy is the only thing that matters.
I know what it’s like to admire your wife in a completely new way. I know what it’s like to be extremely grateful for your parents, for taking him when you need to take a walk, for cleaning the house when you don’t have the energy, for giving you encouraging advice yet keeping enough distance to help you figure things out on your own.
I know what it’s like to think about how your son will one day crawl and walk and pretend to be a superhero and go to school and get a bruised knee and fall in love and have his heart broken and go to college and have his views of the world changed and enter the real world and see his colleagues and friends lose heart and watch his grandparents die and walk down the aisle with a woman so beautiful it takes his breath away. And I know what it’s like to simultaneously want him to enjoy everything good in this world and keep him protected from anything bad.
He’s six weeks old, but it feels like he’s been here forever. And life is never going to be the same.Follow @intentionally