When my wife approached me with the idea of throwing a joint 40th birthday party, I’ll be honest I wasn’t thrilled with the idea. It’s not that I don’t like parties (well actually I kinda don’t). But it’s more like I under appreciated just how gratifying it would be to get as many of my favorite people together in one space to celebrate our lives. Looking back now on the weekend, I can truly say it was well worth it.
Of the people we invited who actually RSVPed (some from out of town), almost all of them actually showed up. I mentioned to Samantha that this is actually pretty rare turnout. As someone who helped folks organize and mobilize people to show up to marches or board meetings, I can tell you that even the best organizers don’t get above 90% turnout rates. But here we were. That says something important about the strength of our relationships.
One of the things I’ve been appreciating a lot more lately is the different types of friendships I’ve been blessed to accumulate over the years. As a kid who grew up all over the place, constantly moving from one school to the next I had to get used to always making new friends, just as easily as I had to learn to say goodbye to old friends. It created in me a desire to create more stability for my own family, which is behind a lot of my bluster when I say we’re never moving or leaving our neighborhood.
There’s a silver lining though, and it’s in the wealth of variety of relationships I have. At one point one person who I’ve known as a colleague, fellow board member, family hang out buddy, and now business collaborator asked me, how are all of these people related? Meaning, how did you get this eclectic mix in one room together? All the credit for that goes to my brilliant wife for orchestrating such an event. But I am glad that I acquiesced to participating.
There was once a time when I tried to keep my various relationships separate. My work relationships didn’t intermingle with my social or personal ones. Then I became a parent and it just became harder to separate those worlds because in some ways your world becomes smaller. The people you end up spending most of your time with, at least when your kids are young are parents with kids your age. Fortunately we lucked out with several of our college friends starting families around the same time as us, but still, our circle has necessarily had to shift to accommodate seasonal friendships based on school, career, and even lifestyle choices.
It’s a heady time as a parent raising kids, but it’s a great thing to have a tribe of folks on this journey with us. Even if the circle has expanded a bit, the core has remained the same. To new and old friends, you’ll need them both!