I caught up with a friend from business school and confirmed the Venn Diagram of Life.
I did my MBA in 2005–2007. Soon, twenty years. The number of years that passed feels greater than my perception of my life journey during these years. We were in Boston, or Cambridge, to be precise. Our youngest son was only a few months old when we arrived in Boston and is now at college.
At business school, young families hung out with fellow young families. We were a minority because few of us had kids in our twenties. Instead of going out and partying, we spent time on playgrounds and at various self-arranged kids’ activities. We developed close friendships. Later, we had more kids and kept in touch. Once every few years, we’d meet and be amazed at how the kids had grown up.
As even more years went by, you’d discover that some couples got divorced. Some or many? Several. It’s hard to quantify, but what was surprising to me is that the separation took place in the families where you least expected to see it. Families like mine had a small child arriving at the MBA program, then we had another kid over the course of the two-year stay, and then we had more kids later. You’d think you wouldn’t have three or four kids if you struggled to be with your partner.
So last night, I caught up with one of my closest friends from my business school times. Our families often hung out; the wives were close friends — young mommies. As I said, we had one kid, and then, over the years, we had more. Both of our families have four kids.
The last time I saw my friend and his family was about four years ago.
My friend is doing very well professionally. His company is about to be sold and, as its executive, he’ll make good money.
I felt slightly jealous, not in some dark way, but I’ve struggled with my career. I stepped away from the corporate world to pursue entrepreneurship, at which I failed. There is no easy way to get back to the corporate world, and certainly not to the executive level of my friend, let alone a situation where there is a big event that allows you to make lots of money.
And then my friend said he and his wife divorced several years ago. It came as a shock to me. I knew other families with many kids whose marriages failed despite having many kids, but I couldn’t imagine this particular couple breaking up.