About Your Old Man

by Byron on November 17, 2018

Decker and Gibson,

We all accentuate the positives about ourselves, as we should.

For me … I’m a good person, I have two wonderful boys and an amazing wife, I’m a successful lawyer with a thriving law firm, and I’ve overcome some serious obstacles.  Great.  But you guys are my heart and soul, my DNA, my best friends, my guys.  You need to know the not as great stuff also.  One, because I want full transparency with you guys; and two, so you can look out for this stuff if you ever see it in yourself.  We do share DNA!

1.) I had a substance abuse problem.  I went to drug and alcohol rehab after law school when I was 27 years old.  Before that, I had struggled for years to get sober and stay sober on my own.  My life was unmanageable.  I was not able to do it on my own.  After rehab, I went to meetings for more than a decade.  I am sober today, but I must always stay vigilant.

2.) I suffered from panic attacks before I got sober and after.  I still go to talk therapy.

3.) I have some OCD that manifests itself in weird ways.  Sometimes in a crowded place I feel like, “What if I just screamed the most inappropriate, fucked up shit imaginable right now?”  As you can imagine, this is a really weird thought when I’m in court representing a client.  I have never acted on the weird thought and can’t imagine I ever would, but I’m less clear about that in the moment, which is what makes it weird.

4.) My OCD also manifests occasionally in me wondering, “What if I just drive my car into oncoming traffic or what if I just jump in front of the train I’m waiting for at the station?”  This is a particularly fucking crazy one as I am completely not suicidal at all.  It’s just my brain fucking with itself.

5.) I’m often afraid of failure.  I’ve learned to let it drive me just enough.

6.) I spent waaaaayyy too long caring what other people thought of me.  I think this may be the human condition, to some degree.  I wish I had not let it impact my decision making as much as it did in my teens and 20’s.

7.) I did very little academically in college.  I really wish I had not squandered this incredible opportunity to enrich myself intellectually.  I got by.  Your grandfather would say that I “never let school get in the way of my education.”  I benefited to some degree from my approach, but I think I could have had a much better balance.

8.) In the late 90’s when I was doing a fair amount of day trading and doing very well, I decided Apple was a company that was a long-term hold because they were turning it around with their new products.  (This was pre iPod even; 10 years before iPhone.)  I made it out of the dot-com bust with a condo in College Park, MD that I paid cash for and about $1500 worth of apple stock.  I sold the Apple stock a few years later for, ballpark, what I paid.  That stock would be worth about $1.5 million today.

We all have stuff.  We all have to master ourselves – and it can be a lifelong process.  We all fuck up.  We all have deeply embarrassing things about ourselves it’s tough to admit.  I will do my absolute best to not judge you at all if you ever want to bring some of your stuff to me!  I’ve been there.

I love you guys!

Dad

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