I grew up in a very loving and stable household. The youngest of two, with adoring and attentive parents. Surrounded by a strong, loving family imprinted the importance of relationships, communication, and respect. Mistakes were allowed and encouraged but lying even white ones were quickly punished. My mom would call me Eddie Haskell (from leave it To Beaver fame) when I would tell them what I thought they wanted to hear. Being straightforward and honest with others, my wife my family, and most importantly with myself is always the right decision. This open communication style has followed me into the workplace and has allowed me to navigate traditionally difficult conversations.
My Bubbe will turn 95 years old this summer. Her advice: “make sure to have at least 15 minutes of sheer joy each and every day. Doctor’s orders!” I don’t argue with her. It’s a good reminder to consistently step back and either appreciate the reality of your wonderful life, even when times seem hard or stressful; or to poke fun at overly ambitious and serious expectations. Happiness is reality minus expectations and making sure that equation is balanced and in the black is serious business.
My Dad always took me seriously. Didn’t baby talk or simplify. I would ask questions and we would engage in a deep conversation. This family culture of intellectual curiosity and encouragement of learning new skills has made my life super interesting and rewarding. It seems silly and simple, but my parents engaging and talking with me was very influential and unfortunately unique. It turns out that I am a jack of all trades, a handy guy. This was and is driven by an insatiable curiosity and an almost paranoid level of self-reliance. I like to understand how things work, especially if I rely on them.
This hacker scientist mentality has guided me to meet amazing people and do some unique activities. From starting a technology based hunting company, plotting my heart rate during my wedding, to making moonshine, mastering cooking, or getting my private pilot’s license. I have a unique and wide spectrum of hobbies and interests.
I really cherish this, since not only do I enjoy these activities, but it allows me to connect in a deep and personal way to a large majority of people I meet. This ability to form authentic friendships quickly, is the ultimate enriching activity. My wife Melissa thinks it is my best quality.
These three pillars of honesty, gratitude, and curiosity form the tripod of my values and ideals. They shape my aspirations of the future and my reflections on the past. They make up who I am and the person I want continue to be.