Jenna and I met up at this random coffee shop to cowork together for a few hours. Which mostly just consists of us sitting across from each other and typing away on our laptops. Sometimes she pops her head up for a minute and asks me questions about team building for a remote team. I rarely will let anyone see my work setup, but I show her some of the things we do and show her around our virtual “office”.
“When someone asks what you do for a living, what do you say? Like your elevator pitch?” she asked, closing her laptop screen half way to peer over at me.
“I try not to say much about what I do, actually.” I replied as I finished typing.
“Why?” she asked
I shrugged “Most people can’t wrap their head around what I do or the company I work for. It’s complicated.”
“It’s simple really… you launch and maintain the biggest and mostly highly trafficked websites in the world.” her eyes were intense and I couldn’t help but smile over at her, I didn’t realize I was having lunch with the Boss Babe version of Jenna.
“Yeah, I guess that’s a simple way of saying it. Maybe I’ll say that if I actually feel like not being a total mystery.” I said shrugging.
“Why don’t you want to describe it to other people? It’s really cool!” she asked.
I closed my laptop and smiled over at her, “Honestly? I’ve been thinking about it recently… and I don’t need people to know what I do. I don’t want to get hired anywhere else. I don’t want to strike out on my own. If my career stayed exactly where it is right now for the rest of my life, I’d be perfectly happy and fulfilled. I have everything I want. I work for my dream company on dream projects.”
Jenna nodded, “But what about other women? How can you be a good mentor if they don’t know what you do?”
I shrugged, “I’m pretty selective about who I mentor these days. I do take on some non-paid speaking gigs, specifically geared towards woman. If anything, I want to focus more on being balanced in my life than anything else career-wise. I feel set there. I’d rather just quietly do my work, not bring any attention to it… and focus more on my life outside of it.”
She smiled at me knowingly and dropped the subject.
I’ve been doing a lot of self reflection lately. Thinking about what type of life I want to build. Thinking about what’s most important to me.
Overall, I’m super happy with my life… but I also realized that I felt out of alignment with what I want…. when it comes to my job. I am so incredibly proud of what I’ve managed to do in my career over these past few years. I never thought my career would take me to this place, but here I am. I’m working for a company and a product that gives a voice & platform to people that don’t have one, and I love that. I’ve also worked incredibly hard to get here.
I figured out that as proud as I am and how much I genuinely enjoy my job…. it’s not my happiness. It’s not my identity. When I die, I don’t want a list of the incredible projects that I worked on to be read.
What I do want is my loved ones and my family to talk about my kindness, the way I inspired them, how I was generous and genuinely helped people out of tough situations, or the way I was always smiling and laughing, how I was always so present in the moment. I want them to talk about what an incredible friend, daughter, sister, wife, and mother I am. But for that to happen… I need to change where the focus and energy in my life is going.
This past week has felt really good. I’ve found that I’m most in balance with myself when I’m here in Hawaii. The pace of life is so different here… and I really need that in my life right now.
Most days, I wake up early and start work at 5am and I’m usually done for the day by noon. After that I hit the gym, I really like the gym I’ve been going to out here. The people here are really cool and I’ve already made a few gym friends, which is pretty cool.
My sister works later in the day, so I usually don’t see her until dinner. Which means I usually meet up with Jennica.
Jennica has quickly become one of my favorite humans. I love how free and adventurous she is. She knows the great spots to go cliff jumping. She is incredibly driven too but has a flexible schedule like me, so usually we meet up most afternoons and load up her truck with our boards and the cooler, then we drive around and find a good spot to surf. She’s such a kickass surfer and we joke around a lot. In a matter of days. it was like we went to BFF status.
We were laying in the warm sand after a particularly great surf session, blasting music on my bluetooth speaker. Right now our favorite song is Truth Hurts by Lizzo, which we love to sing to each other.
When the song faded out she casually asked: “So what’s the deal with you and Alec?”
“No deal.” I replied.
“Nahhh there is something there.” she said laughing.
“No way. Besides, I’m engaged. I’m not interested in anyone else.”
“I believe you, I just think homeboy is falling hard for you.” she said laughing
“I promise, it’s not at all like that.” I said and Jennica nodded, dropping the subject. Instead we started talking about her upcoming trip, she travels a lot too and we’re thinking about traveling somewhere together. Some place with really good surf and wifi. She also wanted to get a group of friends to take this yacht to another island. If Davide is down for it, we might join.
Later that afternoon we hit up Happy Hour with a few of her other friends, Amanda and Molly and a few guys. Afterwards, we all ended up back at my house. Where we mostly just chilled out. Alec showed up and brought some shaved ice. He also remembered what I usually order and brought it specifically to me. “You da BEST!” I said as I gave him a big hug. He knows how much I love shaved ice. Jennica from across the room winked at me and made a kissy face. I rolled my eyes.
What the hell was that?
Later that night after many many tequila shots we were talking about dancing, and I agreed to teach some of the guys some really cool dance moves, I call them “moves that get you laid”, but it’s fairly easy moves to dip and spin a girl around that’s outside of the norm. It ended up getting kinda messy since they were all pretty drunk at this point. The guys dropped me on my ass a lot, which had me laughing pretty hard. They eventually got the move down. It ended up as a mini dance party, as most hangouts at my house tend to go.
Look what God gave her by Thomas Rhett came on (which is honestly one of my favorite songs right now and I have it on repeat) and it was my turn to dance with Alec. He pulled me close and whispered in my ear “This song always reminds me of you.” I smiled back, I figured he meant because I always play this song when we cruise around. But then something shifted during that dance. I think it was because he had drank too much, but the way he looked at me… it was different and then suddenly there was a ton of tension between us. He was really intense all of a sudden. His hand lowered to my ass and I had to redirect it. The dance itself was great, he lead me through the advanced twirl, dip, and jump flawlessly.
When the song was over, Jennica made eye contact from across the room and she mouthed “Wow.”
I took a breather after that and went to the other room, all I could think was “fuck. fuck. fuck. fuck.” I was a bit drunk and the world was spinning.
Alec came in a few minutes later,
“Hey….” he said
“Duuuude. What the hell was that?” I asked
He blushed hard “I don’t know.” he said softly while he ran his hand through his hair.
“I think we drank too much, but that can’t happen again. I’m engaged. You’re seeing someone. I can’t… I’m in love… I wouldn’t want him to ever think I’d hurt him or betray him like that.”
He nodded, “Yeah, I’m sorry. I know I put you in a bad position. You’re right… I think I drank too much. It won’t happen again.”
We both nodded and went back to the other room. After that Alec stayed across the room and was acting weird with me. He kept doing shots. I kinda got lost in my own head… beating myself up for it. Nothing happened. I know that… but I feel like such an asshole to Davide right now. I should’ve listened to Jennica. I don’t have anything but friendship feelings for Alec. I know that I’m in love with Davide. We’re going to get married. He’s my family. I take family… so so seriously. I’m so protective over them, I don’t ever betray them and have undying loyalty to them, no matter what. Yet here I am… fucking up again. First with Nate and now with Alec? What the hell is wrong with me?
Thankfully Jennica and Amanda put on Dessert by Dawin (another one of my very favorite songs which has been on non-stop repeat lately) and pulled me up to dance it out. Amanda and I had been teaching Jenna the line dance for this song, and she’s almost got it down. Which got me out of my head and lifted my mood. I do love that song, I can’t help but have a ton of fun with it.
Later, as everyone started to leave for the night, Jennica gave me a hug and whispered “Good luck” giving me a reassuring smile.
Alec was getting ready to leave for the night, when I pulled him aside.
“Where are your keys?” I asked. He handed them to me.
“I don’t want you driving tonight. So do you want to crash on the couch, or do you want to wait until I sober up enough to drive you?” I asked
He glared at me, “I want to drive home.”
“I’m sure you do, but that’s not happening.” I said folding my arms
He glared at me and I could suddenly see that I somehow hurt his feelings. I poked his stomach playfully, “Hey… stop being grumpy. I know things got weird with us earlier, but it was an accident and we’re still friends. I’m doing this because I care, okay? So couch or do I have to sober up?”
His face softened. “Couch.” he replied.
“Yahhhs! Let’s cook, I’m hungry.” I said smiling.
He smiled back. There. It felt normal again.
I cooked for us and we (my sister, Alec, and I) watched an episode of Stranger Things. Then I went to my room and called Davide. In the morning, Alec was gone even though I woke up really early.
We had plans to workout at the gym after we were both done with work for the day… but he ended up blowing it off. I just feel like a jerk for ruining a really good friendship. I just don’t know what I could’ve done differently there. All I know is I feel like it’s somehow my fault, I’m probably being too hard on myself, which is a typical Monica-like thing to do… I guess I’ve got a lot on my mind and I’m just… really frustrated.