Slowing Down with Friend #173: Nick (Jamie, Amelie, and Tyler)

Friend #173: Nick
Date and Location of Visit: Thursday, October 13, 2011, Farmer’s Gastropub and The Coffee Ethic, Springfield, Missouri
Known from: High school marching band
Last seen: 1997

Memories of Nick:  Nick was a trumpet player in marching band and jazz band.  He and another friend took my best friend, Janise, and me out to a Harry Connick, Jr. concert on the night of Homecoming instead of going to the dance.  Nick remembered me giving him a talking-to around that time, being protective of Janise, ensuring that he would treat her well.  I don’t recall the conversation at all, but when he quoted me as saying, “You can’t have your cake and eat it, too,” it very much sounded like something I would say.

About our visit:  Nick and wife Jamie and 3 month old Amelie, as well as Nick’s little brother Tyler, who I last saw when he was 12, all met me for lunch at all-local, all-organic restaurant (in Springfield!), Farmer’s Gastropub, for some amazing grass-fed burgers.  We had such an enjoyable time there, and later when we went to go get coffee at The Coffee Ethic, which used The Clover machine to make me a cup of coffee you can’t get anywhere else in the world.  It was a pretty world class afternoon (in Springfield!).

Nick had recently made a comment on my blog, so I knew that he’d been following along with the trip, at least somewhat.  So he caught me up on his life since high school–pursuing music and trumpet, then almost instantaneously burning out (perhaps a little David Freese-esque for you Cardinal’s fans out there).  After continuing to pursue music along avenues other than trumpet, Nick eventually landed at Mizzou and met Jamie.  She most definitely changed his life.  Nick left some of the wild ways of the musician lifestyle and got focused.  He now owns and runs his own business in Springfield, and he’s really successful at it.  He also determines the pace of his work day.  He works at home and doesn’t miss out on all of Amelie’s firsts.  He’ll put all his meetings on one day so that his other days can be free.  As a family, they have intentionally chosen to slow down the pace of their life, a choice probably influenced by the loss they’ve experienced.

Nick and Tyler lost their dad to a massive heart attack about 4 years ago, and Jamie also lost her dad when she was younger. Nick said he most misses his dad when something goes well with the business and he can’t share it with his dad, who he knows would have been so excited.  Both Nick and his younger brother Tyler have jobs that involve internet marketing and social media.  Nick’s business seeks to increase traffic to websites of local businesses.  Tyler administrates social media for a large company.  He spent the morning on a conference call to teach a bunch of middle-aged men how to Tweet.  I probably could have used the lesson, too!

As I was driving away from my time with them, I was so relaxed.  I remember seeing something on Nick’s Facebook wall the other week along the lines of, “People who are worried about being productive working from home must not love what they do.”  There is something contagious about the pace of life that Nick and Jamie live.  Their relaxation and ease enables them to create that environment around them, and I didn’t want to leave.  I kept lingering so much, in fact, that I was a little late in getting to Busch Stadium to see the Cardinals play the Brewers in Game 4 of the NLCS.  It was just that enjoyable!

I told Nick he seems like he’s about 50 to me, but in a good way.  There is a settledness and a maturity to him, a comfort in his life and his skin, and I would never have described him with any of those words in high school.  It’s clear that Jamie and Amelie are a crucial piece in the puzzle.  Nick has the mark of someone who has lived through some bumps in the road and has found his way.

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