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2nd kid arrives
Will be back in action soon, but before that, I wanted to extend a quick thank you to HoS readers and listeners. Why, at this particular moment?
Because, beyond paying my bills, my customers have allowed me to be a better family man than otherwise would have been possible. I know that sounds hyperbolic and it’s not anyone’s primary reason for becoming a subscriber. But hey, it’s true, and worth noting as a positive outcome.
Back in the day, I was a beat writer, which meant long weeks spent on the road, away from my wife. Down the line, I landed a role with The Athletic that called for far less travel. That was nice. Still, it was my job to work in the afternoons through evenings, often at games, when my son was home from daycare.
This isn’t a bad life, compared to many. At the point I had it, it was better than I could have ever hoped for. It just so happened to come at the expense of interacting with my kid, though. My son would come home and I’d either be at a game or paying attention to one. There are worse upbringings, to be sure, but I prefer the home experience this current Substack gig provides, as it actually includes family dinner. Quoting myself:
I feel blessed to have this newsletter and the flexibility it affords. This past year has meant a lot more work, because running your own business just has to mean that. Somewhat paradoxically, though, working longer hours coincided with more family time and present-mindedness. How could this happen?
The easy answer is that I now control when I’m actually working. Before, at jobs I was — I’d stress to add — fortunate to have, I wasn’t in control of the clock. I was on the NBA’s schedule, which waits for no one.
What’s great about having your own site is that, though you do work your ass off, you can have more flexibility in how you apply that effort. Hours spent waiting outside of practice facilities have been replaced with reading, writing and phone calls. Car rides to the arena are now night walks with my son through our neighborhood. I might stay up all night on an article, but reserve the luxury of a nap the next day to recover.
This shift not only changed my life, but my entire outlook on life. I went from assuming that it’s mostly about suffering to a belief that hard work could bring some peace if not edification. Also I became a convert on another aspect, this tremendous side benefit to the efforts, provided you aren’t doing it to the degree of being neglectful: Your kids see the value in working hard. That’s huge, I think. If you can apply yourself diligently and lead a good life overall, the combination not only provides for your children, but gives them a model to work towards. I’m hoping for success, but more than that, I’m hoping that my sons understand what it takes to be successful family men.
I don’t have all this figured out yet. Achieving an optimal work/life balance is still fairly impossible. One can fall short of ideal while still leading an existence that’s fulfilling on both fronts, though. That’s the goal, and it seems in range, even with another kid added to the mix.
But in my case, it only happens with subscriber support, so thank you for that. I appreciate how you’ve allowed me to do this site and I have gratitude for what that’s meant on a personal level. I’ll continue to do the best job I can here. I owe that to my customers. I also owe it to the new guy.