How many friends do I need?

It is an interesting time with social media and the concept of likes, friends, shares, etc. I haven’t been involved much in social media and when I creep on my wife’s Facebook account (sorry!) I admit I kind of felt like I was missing something. I saw people with over 1000 “friends” and then I thought “I think I only have 150 followers on Instagram”. How many friends do I need or should I have?

I had an unfortunate but powerful experience recently. My best friend (I don’t need to name him cause everyone knows who he is) had his mother pass away. This lady raised him, and at many times me, through our challenging periods of our lives with nothing but love and devotion. It was tough to see this lady fight cancer and win, only to have it sneak back and take her when we did not expect it.

As she was passing away, I attempted to see her and I was too late, I waited too long and I will regret it for a long time. She passed with a loving family surrounding her. I was devastated and needless to say, so was anyone who was connected to her.

As the funeral day approached I was filled with a lot of emotions. I told Rae I was not looking forward to the event, and selfishly I quietly did not want to be there. For some reason, this lady’s passing had struck me in a way I was unable to explain to others nor myself.

Leading up to  the funeral, my friend and I had been on a once-a-year text or phone call for superficial yet connecting reasons. We were busy with our own lives for the past 10 years and far too busy to concern ourselves with each other. We did what everyone else in their 30’s does “Hey we should totally get together with the kids?…yeah, we are busy too…maybe next year? Cool man, see you around!”

The day of the funeral I was still very anxious about how I would feel. I went with my wife on my arm and watched as nurses, family, friends, and neighbors paid their respects. I sat quietly through the ceremony not wanting to look at my friend who had not just lost his Mom, but really his best friend. I was sad to see her pass but I then realized a lot of my pain was because I didn’t want to see him suffer. It was the strangest thing I had experienced. Why couldn’t I even look at him? Because it hurt too much.

After the funeral, it felt so sad but so powerful to give him a hug and to share memories of what she had done for the two of us.

It has been a few months now since she passed. We have spent time with our families together for the first time in 13 years, we went to the camp together to catch up and our once-yearly texts have turned into weekly or at least every other week. I regret letting all that time go by where we didn’t connect and we both vowed not to let that happen again. My kids will know who he is, his dear wife, and his awesome kids.

So what did I learn? I would trade 1,000 social media friends for 1 true friend. You know the friend I am talking about. The friend when you hear the first beat of a song from 20 years ago where you both look at each other (or don’t) and start rapping. When you hear a name and automatically both look at each other and say another name related to it. The friend who even if you don’t eat Munchos anymore, when you get together, you eat Munchos.

If you have one of those friends you haven’t spoken to in a while, reach out to them, grab a beer or 24 and head to a camp/hotel/golf course/spa/ etc. and make some more memories.

So, how many friends do I need? One true friend, everything else is gravy.

 

 

 

My Very First Blog

So, I am starting a blog. Ok, so many questions as to why I would do this. Let me explain.

Very recently, I have noticed some changes or some things becoming more apparent in my thoughts and other people’s behavior towards me. I am a father of 4 beautiful girls, not a typo I wrote 4 (and no, this isn’t from 1885). Lately, a lot of people will tell others in front of me “he has 4 kids!! He’s crazy!!” For the first few years I shrugged it off as some people being dramatic. Then it became more frequent and more dramatic. Then I realized the average household at the census 2011 count was 2.3 members and realized, statistically I am out outlier and therefor…crazy.

At the same time this was happening with people pointing out my ‘crazy’, I really started thinking more deeply about what I am feeling months before my 40th with 4 kids. I work a very busy job as Director with a pharmacy retailer and my wife has a budding career with the government. At the same time we are working on our careers, my kids are developing and finding themselves and have many interests. Lately the time I reflect the most about what is happening when I get up in the middle of the night for a drink of water or to pee. I then realized, this is really the only time I have to think about these things.

So my blog has a few different purposes:

  1. To take some time to put down my thoughts and reflections about being a proud father and husband, all the while trying to balance a full life and pay my bills. I hope to share my experiences and learn from myself, learn from readers giving me advice and maybe even teaching some new Dads that they aren’t alone and it feels really weird a lot of the time.
  2. Being a father of 4, commuting 3 hours most days, coaching Crossfit and soccer being a husband, being a productive employee, etc., etc., requires extreme discipline and structure. Everything in my life is highly structured. Therefore, I am not a very creative person. I am doing this as my channel for expressing myself artistically. I can’t paint, I can’t play music that anyone would want to listen to, but I do think I can tell a story. So maybe this will work….remains to be seen.
  3. I want to connect with people in means other than Linkedin (not saying you can’t connect with me) or other structured networking means. I want to connect with people in a way that there is no expectation or self-interest other than sharing an attitude or an experience on how life unfolds as a mother or father in the 21st century.

So, what am I going to write about? Well, I do need to talk about myself for a minute. I love my wife (Rae), my kids, my work, my education (finishing off my MBA), Crossfit coaching and training, skiing, coaching youth soccer, eating, drinking great beer and wine, comedy and lots of other things in life. I also enjoy non-fiction books, and recently started meditating. I am an expert in zero of the above but I try lots of things. I am going to provide my insight as a father of 4 girls living a full life and trying to soak in every ounce of life I can. Some posts will be funny, some will be sad, some will hopefully trigger a thought from readers and some unfortunately will be largely unreadable (sorry). My goal is to capture what is happening in life and gain some skills in writing, all the while connecting with like-minded people who can help me and learn from me on this journey.

Enjoy.

Travis Gunn

Father of 4 girls