October 15, 2019

Are you a fan of Shel Silverstein?

And hats?

And friends?

OK that’s everyone.

I know this fellow Justin who wears many hats in my life.

In fact, whenever we speak, we must punctuate our conversations with which hat applies because some connote a fiduciary relationship. He is my lawyer, see.

But that is not all he is.

We met through AREAA Greater Birmingham, a nonprofit board on which we both serve. As the secretary and treasurer, respectively, we manage the administrative and financial interests of the chapter.

So our phone calls go like this:

“Hi Felicia it’s Justin, putting on my AREAA hat…”

And then, we plan and scheme.

When he is advising me on business matters, the calls goes:

“Hi Justin, put on your LLC hat.” I imagine an LLC hat as pointy and papered with degrees.

When he advises me on my real estate investments, I imagine a Victorian top hat caked with chunky fists full of twigs and soil and passive income.

He has been integral to my peace of mind, as I map out a plan to build wealth and community and opportunities.

And he has become a needed friend.

We meet thousands of people in our lives and keep so few. And so few keep us. It’s a terribly difficult and valuable thing to earn a place in someone’s life, filled with burdens and minutiae; busy with jobs, children, pets, and too many obligations.

And the older we get, the less time we devote to finding and keeping unusual, inspiring, intoxicating people who make us better.

So my favorite of Justin’s hats is the friend hat, which he throws on askew after we’ve rotated through all the important business we need to cover, and we’re done, but we want to keep chatting.

This hat, in my mind’s eye, is tall and pocketed, teetering precariously; a Dr. Seuss cylinder hat whose top is so high above the clouds, I cannot even see the rim.

Each pocket is filled, overflowing with moments. Hilarious moments. Some, future moments we haven’t reached yet.

Justin is always positive. I am not. I find I cannot be negative with him. He simply negates negativity with his being.

He avoids harmful ingredients, but he let me introduce him to Vietnamese food, and now his dreams are filled with cà phê đá

even though the milk causes him pain.

I fear being the harmful ingredient in his productive day, so when he calls, I stop being pissy. And that’s how me makes me better.

When I get to chat with my friend, we take care of business and then all good things seem possible.

Find yourself a Justin or maybe just get yourself some hats.

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