I had a moment a few weeks back during an event that caught me completely off guard, which is very unusual as there are very few things that have the power to jolt me out of my relational flow as I’m meeting and networking with new people.
It’s no surprise for those that know me well that I’m very much of an introvert yet that doesn’t mean that I cannot be relationally adept – and for those that have not gotten to know me intimately that might come as a surprise since you may have seen me in what I call “the relational john zone” – it’s like my superpower and kryptonite smashed together as it kills me when I’m done.
In any case, I can roll through pretty much any conversation with ease, even topics that may not necessarily interest me or conversations that I have no speciality or background or knowledge about – I’ll just simply admit that I know nothing about the topic and we’ll continue to shoot the breeze.
But during this event I saw someone that I hadn’t seen in 8 or so years – someone that I had gone to school with while I was at Georgia Tech and someone who I was certain had graduated with me. After shaking his hand and asking him if was a GT alum I quickly confirmed my suspicion and I asked him plainly how the last few years had been. More specifically, I asked him what he had done since leaving the university.
He described a few things, a few jobs here and there, a corporate job or two, working for his dad for a time, and then trying his hand at building a web app and becoming an entrepreneur and raising money for his startup (the event was around entrepreneurship, startups, and venture capital). He was there with his girlfriend and he was just exploring his options for capital raising.
He then asked me the exact same question and it took me by surprise. I must have just stared at him for a moment too long because he gave me a strange look which snapped me back to reality and I quickly got back on track and mentioned a few things that I was doing now, in the present.
After the pleasantries were done, a business card exchanged with a firm handshake, I was left to myself for a moment to ponder what I could have said in my response to his question and it humbled me to the point where I wanted to weep.
I have been incredibly blessed with an incredible list of experiences in my very short life time thus far. I have done things that many will never have the chance to experience and have accomplished much in a very short amount of time. I have no one but God to thank for that.
And yet, at the same time, I think of all the things that I feel I have yet to do and accomplish, the many unfulfilled dreams that I have for my life, my wife, and my children. I think of all the mountains still yet to climb and they seem too big to attempt or to even consider. Looking back at all the mountains that I have passed over and conquered (or through, or under…) doesn’t comfort me like I think they should – they feel like small blips on a radar screen; here and gone in moments.
Moments like these, perhaps.
I continued to network, to relate, to talk, to shake, to hand cards out, to laugh, to sip, to joke, to side-hug, to encourage, to commend, to predict, to request, and to say goodbyes as the night grew old and tired. I walked out into the crisp Atlanta night and wondered if I’d sleep well tonight.
I did, and it was good.