Jami sent me a text yesterday about it being the last day of the decade and I didn’t really think about it that way until I read it. The day itself is not that different than most other days. I said my goodbye’s to my family, had a nice black coffee, and came to the office. Today included some year end items and touch bases before we bring together Q1 OKRs. The wheels are in motion so to speak and generally it’s clear where things are going.
2019 wasn’t easy. Between a house renovation we didn’t want and the associated drama for ten months, my father having a stroke, our families dog passing away suddenly and the general difficulties of running a company I can humbly say that 2019 tested me. Maybe no more than any other year, though. The tests were different because I certainly felt like anything that happened had to happen in front of other people. I struggled to find the time I needed to recover at a few points.
Jami’s text gave the world a little different sheen because she gave context to the end of the year for me. I couldn’t help but think back 10 years. I had just sold a company but was just getting another off the ground. Life was pretty messy and personally things were all over the map. I had no idea when the decade began what I had just gotten myself into.
Life has since gotten steadily better year by year. Not without difficulty but certainly better. I opted into a number of choices a decade ago that dramatically changed my life. The most impactful wasn’t starting a company though, it was getting married. Traveling and building things with Jami was sort of like unlocking a secret level in life that there was no context for previously. Building companies, our family, or just trying to find the next great shot is always an adventure.
The highlights of my year were more frequently found at home. My work highlights tend to occur as a part of building the company and are shared more quietly with the team. A press release just isn’t something I need to validate a days work like I once did.
The sheen I mentioned above came from a realization that over the last ten years I’ve built a better life for myself and for my family. I’ve worked with a team that services millions of people building a future that I’m proud of. My work has exposed me to so many incredible people that have changed how I see and understand the world. As I looked around it was hard to ignore that the work had become the work of so many others who I’d gladly work for myself.
I’m not going into 2020 worrying I got screwed, unsure about what’s next, or feeling like I wasted the last 10 years of my life. While I’m excited to get this basement renovation done, the world feels particularly good today. I’m confident that as I look back at the last 10 years, I know I didn’t waste it. I even discovered new places with new people that unlocked new parts of life. The most obvious place is Santa Cruz.
I could just as easily say Paris, Venice, Hong Kong, Copenhagen, Mykonos, London, Tel Aviv, Munich, or the wonderful array of places the last decade has taken me but none of them quite hit me like Santa Cruz does. Every-time I go the ocean unlocks something for me. I found myself in Santa Cruz on a fairly regular basis.
I found myself dealing with some 4 dimensional problems (as a friend calls them) on a daily basis this year. Many of the old blogs I used to write at years end have all kinds of nuggets that keep proving to be true for me. Find good people, trust them, work hard, trust your gut, do your best, assume good intent, etc etc. The learning lessons held true and the challenge has become building habits that remind me to use the lessons and remember my values even when they are challenged.
When I look back at some of my writing at the beginning of the decade and reflect on where I was at the time, I can’t help but feel like at the end of my 20s I was really struggling to prove myself and justify my own view of the world. To make my way and not be influenced by the wrong people. I was worried about fitting in, not unlike how I probably ended my teen years.
So what did I learn over the past decade? I found that following crazy things, being open to meeting people who are obsessed about whatever their crazy thing is, finding non-obvious things, and sharing them with people you love makes the world a lot of fun to live in.
As the saying goes: Only boring people get bored. That’s true for a lot of things. So find the crazy ones, the fun ones, and the kind ones… Then, find more them. I think I will probably spend a lot of time over the next 10 years doing just that.
I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’m hopeful when things turn over to 2030 I’m as proud of the decade to come as I am of the one that just passed. Jami & I spend last night lighting wishes on fire with our kids, so I’m fairly certain I’m on the right path.
To many of you,
🙏🏻for a great decade.