Today is my 41st Birthday. The waitress at the “Eye Candy” bar at the Mandalay Bay assumed I was 30 then guessed a second time at 33. Perhaps she was being kind, or was thinking about the tip-to-compliment ratio. Then again, perhaps I really do look young for my age. My father didn’t wrinkle until his 50’s. Whisps of gray are starting and I’m liking the vibe. The truth is what matters is how I feel. Physically I often feel 50 or worse, the 80 to 100 hour work weeks have more repercussions the day after. Mentally … or in terms of outlook – I do grant myself that older is wiser and it has been a long road of mistakes, mishaps and awkwardness to become “El Dave” as I have been known publicly and as a father to my two children, cabal of three dogs, and as a husband. Each year on this date I pause to take an account of my life, it’s impactfulness and lack thereof. On this occasion – that of my 41st, I sign with a smile more often than with a grimace in that process of analysis. I think the sense of purpose and conviction I’ve not lost over the years has finally shaken hands with a certain self-awareness of accomplishments. I say this because it is best to publicly confess what I would alone deny to myself in prior years and I need to become accustomed to the fact that the Spanish kid from 57 Grove Street in Hackensack, New Jersey didn’t instantaneously go from playing stick ball to spending time in Prague discussing competitive intelligence research capabilities and strategies.
The first 2/3 of life to date was about being uncomfortable in my own skin, and I grant that growing up poor gives you a very different angle to where you fit as much as where you want to be and when you feel comfortable that life has been one well lived.
It’s a process.
My wife will tell you I still have the psyche of someone akin to having lived through the “Great Depression.” I save and I skimp on trinkets for myself in favor of what can I get off the shelf for my 4 year old or getting my son his lunch money. It’s a much bigger, more complicated series of transactions to be sure. Even so, it stems from watching my dad work three jobs back in 1978 – one of them being at a pizza parlor after a full day as a shipping clerk at farbege. It precipated our family’s move to California when I was 9. Had i stayed in that rough and tumble Italian neighborhood where I saw a kid accidently shooting himself on the street and seeing through him … I wonder. Had I continued to see little Italian grannies chasing my best friend with a stick she pulled from a tree to get him off the street … I wonder.
Where would I be?
Pause, reflect and fast forward.
So many instances of where my life was headed in one direction; once upon a time a CIA analyst, an up and coming political aspirant, and once arguing about a new tooth brush purchase — to reboot and start again.
The corporate staffing industry has been my second bride. She has given me many offsprings I referred to as innovation, hope and public service. It has not only put food on my table but allowed me to add entrees to the tables of those known to me and unknown.
I went from recruiter to sourcer to talent strategist. The former being the most fulfilling to genuinely help architect a vision rather than look askance in derision about what could be. I embrace the prospect of solution and experimentation.
I am grateful. I am grateful likewise that I gave as much as I was given – or hope to say someday with warranted reflection accomplished.
All that said, at 41 I will add spontaneity to the “Business Regatta” – a term coined by my good friend , Yves Louiseau, to see and experience life while employing my vocation.
It is a vocation that feeds people, that puts them in the choice of their vehicle class status, and takes them places. It did each of the aforementioned for me and the least I can do is convey its promise to others.
There are more out there. The kids from one neighborhood wondering about the world two blocks ahead. We should all take inventory and be the mentors we would be so fortunate to have experienced in our own lives.
Life is short, it can be sweet if you let it be, and it can be used as a power for good to be impactful for other lives. I am good with that analysis and I embrace it. It’s a happy birthday. The kid from 57 Grove Street has seen street signs in several languages and learned to appreciate all of them.
Thanks Shally, thanks Heidi …. thank you life