Sorry Not Sorry

“I’m so sorry”, I said as a big spoonful of strawberry and lime snow cone was shoved into my mouth.

This was in the middle of an interview. Like, a job interview. Well, equal parts job interview and sales pitch with a potential candidate for one of our portfolio companies.

No sooner had I apologized than my mouth filled with a second bite. This time watermelon and birthday cake.

“They both win!”, I declared.

The question? Which one tasted better.

The inquisitors, my two young daughters (8 and 5).

They’d seen me cross the street to my lunch appointment. After handshakes and introductions the door to the restaurant flung open. Two little girls. Shirts already covered in snow cone syrup. Smiles so wide they hardly fit though the door.

After declaring the “winner”, a line formed, each grabbed my necked, pulled my head down and delivered a sweet sticky before they scurried back across the street to meet up with their mom.

“I’m really sorry about that”, I said again.

But the words were hollow.

I wasn’t really sorry.

This month marks the 3yr anniversary of moving back to SLC after a 2yr stint in the Bay Area. A stint that included 2hrs of commuting each day. That included work days that began before my kids were even out of bed and often ended long after they’d gone to sleep.

Don’t get me wrong, the Bay Area is a magical place to work. But it was a tough place to live.

Most people view an imaginary line between their work and their life. Or, anguish over striking some sort of balancing act where each gets some semblance of equality. I’ve played, and lost, that game so many times.

3yrs later, as the interaction above suggests, that line is so blurry.

But that didn’t magically happen.

There have been a lot of trade offs in that line blurring. We lost some LPs in my move home. We may have lost some deals over the years since I’ve been gone.

But I’d rather lose LPs and a few deals than these moments.

In those 2yrs in the Bay Area I apologized so much. Sorrys for missing that thing. Sorry for getting home so late. Sorrys for leaving you hanging, again.

Real sorrys.

But this sorry, the one I gave to the job candidate, was a different kind.

Less sorry. More sorry not sorry.