Writing what I know.

Pieces of me are coming back.

with 2 comments

I’ve been cooking lately. Right now my hands smell of garlic. Don’t tell Denise, because I’m using her computer, and she takes better care of her things than I do.

I made us a simple lunch, featuring zucchini sliced thin on the mandoline. I sauteed garlic on a low heat, then added the zucchini slices, cooking them until they were translucent and green, curling up on themselves.

It doesn’t really matter what I did with the zucchini. I’ll tell you anyway. I put it on baby fusilli with olive oil, sea salt, and coarsely ground pepper.

I cooked more when Denise and I first met. That’s not exactly right. I cooked more as we got to know each other, starting with eggs and advancing into soups and pastas. By the time we left our garden in Point Reyes, I was making quiches and salads, slow roasting tomatoes, and even collaborating on jams and pies with Denise.

That all came to an end when we moved back to San Francisco so that I could launch Knowledge Architecture. I worked Monday through Wednesday at my old job to fund the company. I worked every other waking hour I could to get the business off the ground. When I wasn’t working, I was thinking or talking about the business. I put on weight, stopped cooking, reading fiction, hiking, and any of number of things that were pieces of the guy that Denise married. She missed him, as did I, but I was single-mindedly possessed.

Ironically, one of the reasons I started a business was to have more time to do the things I loved. I have that now. It took a couple of years, and I’d be lying if I told you that I don’t think and talk about the business obsessively. I do. But on the other hand, I don’t go into the office on the weekends, I leave work between 7-7:30, we are heading to Italy for three weeks in September, without a phone or computer. We just got back from three weeks in Point Reyes, where I worked a reduced schedule.

I don’t wish to congratulate myself on getting some life balance back. I want to emphasize that regulating your work hours and taking vacation are not heroic accomplishments, they are the results of prioritization and discipline, as well as signs of a successful business. One thing I’ve noticed when talking to other founders about their early years, or at least first-time founders, is that they gave their life away for two years. The amount of new things you are required to concurrently learn, decide, and build in the first two years is staggering, I cannot over-exaggerate it.  If, however, you haven’t gotten things under control after two years, and that includes your hours, my experience tells me that’s not a good sign, and things might be chaotic for the foreseeable future.

The reason I share this story is that nobody told me about the pieces. Nobody told me that when you set aside pieces of yourself for a couple of years, that they don’t automatically come rushing back in to occupy the space that they used to fill, just because you decided to pull back your hours, just because you are ready for them again. Those pieces of you might have evaporated while you had them dammed up behind your work.

I don’t know what my advice is, other than to share what I’ve experienced. I can’t say that I would have done things differently, even if it meant sacrificing part of myself for it. I can say that I’m relieved that pieces of me which I had put on hold are coming back, and that it feels good to be cooking again.

Written by Christopher Parsons

August 14, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Its good to see the human side of Mr. Business man once in a while.


    August 17, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    • Thanks Paul. Now get back to work.

      Christopher Parsons

      August 17, 2011 at 7:21 pm

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