Teamwork Makes The Dream Work

Teamwork makes the dream work

Lots to reflect on, so let’s get it.

Turning 40 is no joke. For the past six months, I was wondering how I’d deal with it. I jokingly tell friends who ask that when I was 25, I felt 40 (because of marriage and children) and I’m only catching up now. But turning a specific age that felt so far away will definitely trip you out.

Thankfully, I have a good buddy who is just three days younger than me and a lot of friends who will also experience 40 very soon. So just like the West Coast Rap All-Stars, we’re all in the same gang. Take notes from Eazy-E, the violent hero.

Rather than have one large party with friends and family mixed in, I decided to have much smaller parties. Everyone wants to celebrate with you when you turn 40. I’m going to be so sad next year.

MangriaThe first one was with co-workers and my friend Lindsey put it together. She and my other fantastic co-workers dolled the office up a bit, put Beverly Hills, 90210 on in the background and even made Mangria which was the perfect touch.

My mom threw the biggest one with the family and family friends which featured a 3 point shoot-out won by Young Randall. Brian and JJ came in second. I still have a few scheduled with different pockets of friends over the next few days which I’m excited about.

The main reason for having smaller parties was so I could spend time with everyone who wanted to hang out. I got something out of that, which I’ll get to in a bit. We’re going to take the long way there. No shortcuts. No Waze map.

What we gon’ do right here is go back. Way back. Back into time.

I recently spoke at a panel for dads who are having struggles co-parenting. In order to be prepared for it, I had to dig into the memory bank like Harry Potter and the pensieve.

Being divorced defines me just as much as being a dad does. It follows you like a bad tattoo. I had to be present to those memories so that I could let these fathers of all ages know how Carol and I figured it out. It wasn’t magic. But there was a lot of luck. I’m lucky I didn’t marry a crazy person. And I’m lucky I married someone who was just as invested in co-parenting as I was. Not everyone has that.

The entire time I was thinking about what I was going to say to these dads, but what I didn’t realize was that there was a lot for me to learn that day. Just about everyone was a dad of color, most of them my age or older. Some of them weren’t even there for themselves. They were there because their jobs dealt with having to help parents who weren’t getting along. But when I took it all in, I realized how much wisdom was in the room. I even told the dads that I came into the room thinking I needed to help them, but the reality was that they helped me. They helped me realize how lucky I was to be surrounded by so much power and wisdom. And I also learn so much better in a group or team atmosphere.

I also realized that some of our success in being able to co-parent had to do with being raised in two-parent households. Again, a lot of that is luck. My parents were great role models in how to problem solve and be workable in their relationship. Many of the dads I was talking to didn’t have that in their childhood. Many of them didn’t get along with their dads.

The big “get” that day was that I needed to embrace team and partnership more. I’m a much better person in those environments.

I then started to reflect and wonder why I stopped embracing partnership and team so much. I think it was mostly because when I got divorced, I had to desensitize myself. I couldn’t let even the smallest things frustrate or bother me because I needed to be super strong for those little boys who were only around 7 and 6 at the time. I needed to build that suit of armor, literally and figuratively, and nothing could be allowed to take me off my game.

I needed to be independent and figure things out on my own. Once I mastered that, I’d be unstoppable. Touch the untouchable, break the unbreakable. Shake the unshakeable (it’s Hovi baby).

And it became the norm. I was comfortable in that mode of not allowing myself to feel vulnerability. I’m still comfortable in that mode as I write this. And it doesn’t have to stop. But it has to slightly change. In order to do the things I want to do in life, I need to embrace those things again. If I expect my kids to be their best, I need to be my best. And that’s where I’m at my best.

Now, we’re back to life, back to reality.

I grabbed, “Teamwork makes the dream work,” from Jalen Rose who is my favorite sports analyst. Even though he didn’t coin it, it hits the right tone with me when he says it.

(I also took, “If you get jammed up, don’t mention my name,” from him too, even though it’s a Young Jeezy lyric. Word to Bobak.)

If I’m going to realize the rest of my dreams, that’s where I need to be. Teamwork.

Soon enough, my kids are going to be out of the house. And where will my independent self be at that point? Sad and weary, persevering according to MJ because time waits for no one.

Here’s to getting back to it. It’s my goal.

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4 Thoughts on “Teamwork Makes The Dream Work

  1. Love it! Happy 40 again and glad you’re getting back to it…there’s so much life to live ahead!

  2. Thanks for the Harry Potter shout out. It really tied it all together for me…

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