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What’s It Like Being Married To An Early Adopter, Entrepreur?

Jen in LondonIf you’re an early adopter, entrepreneur type then this description of hypomania may sound familiar. Basically not quite manic depressive (with the really high highs and the really low, lows) and not full on bipolar. Just below all that is hypomania. I think that’s what being married to someone like me must be like.

I’ve done some pretty stupid things in my life. I’ve also done some really amazing things. By far the smartest thing I have ever done was to convince Jen to marry me 15 years ago today.

15 years seems like a long time. I’ve never been at a job longer than three years and since graduating college I’ve never stayed in the same town for longer than 6 years. In the last 15 years:

  • I’ve earned two college degrees
  • Lived in 4 states (one of them twice)
  • Owned 7 or 8 cars and at least as many pets
  • Fathered 3 beautiful children (all of them with Jen)
  • Had 10 different jobs
  • Started 3 companies

I could continue on with the list, but you get the point. I’m an early adopter, entrepreneur with ADHD and a high IQ. I’m restless, I’m an extrovert, I have more ideas in a day than some people have in their lifetime and I don’t sleep much.

But without Jen I’d be a complete failure. She’s more important to me than anything else I’ve accomplished or ever will. Being with her makes me want to be better and do better. She makes me want to try harder and her faith in me makes me believe I can do anything.

Jen is brilliant. She has an amazingly calm mind, an eye for the details and understands the importance of the here and now. She is my opposite in all the right ways. Again, I could could go on with this list.

Advice To Spouses:

If you are married to someone like me, I’m so very sorry. But I would like to add some advice that I’ve learned from Jen.

  • Listen and be patient. The ideas come fast and often and most of them won’t go anywhere.
  • Manage the reigns. Know when to let your hypomaniac run wild and know when to reign them back in to reality.
  • Have faith within boundaries. Your faith in us makes us believe we can do anything but we don’t always do it on the first try. Know where your families boundaries are and hold us to them.
  • Help us back up. Entrepreneurs fail - A LOT. The highest highs come with the lowest lows. Help us back up and no matter how bad things are we can turn them around faster than you’d ever imagine.

Advice To Entrepreneurs:

Here’s some advice I’d like to share with my kindred hypomaniacs out there.

  • Stop and remember what you have. Instead of always looking over the next mountain stop every know and then and appreciate what you have.
  • Take your family on the journey. My biggest failure as an entrepreneur came early on. And while the business didn’t end as well as I planned, my biggest mistake was not including Jen in on the business. I tried to do it all myself and suffered dearly for it.
  • Manage the Mania. While we’re comfortable bouncing between the stratosphere and the earths core emotionally our families aren’t. Don’t hide your emotions from your family but realize that whatever has you excited or depressed probably isn’t as big of a deal as you’re making it out to be in your head.
  • Be there. We can’t be there for every school play and every family event but when you are there, be there 100%. That means physically, mentally and emotionally.
  • Get away. Jen and I recently took a trip to London, just the two of us and it was amazing. You can read Jen’s account here and mine here. It’s sometimes impossible to take real vacations like this. It’s the first big one we’ve done since the kids came along but even weekend trips make a big difference.
  • Share the passion. Whatever it is that you’re passionate about find a way to share that. Three years ago I surprised Jen with a blog so she could write about the music she loves so much. It’s a small thing but it gives her a glimpse into my world. (Oh yeah, and Twitter and Posterous)

I’m an extreme case. Most people aren’t like me and that’s a good thing but if you’re reading this blog on a regular basis it’s probably because there’s part of this that resonates. We’ve all got manic tendencies. Hopefully you have someone like I do in my life.

I love you Jen.

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About Tac

Social media anthropologist. Communications strategist. Business model junkie. Chief blogger here at New Comm Biz.

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  • http://twitter.com/JenHarris09 Jennifer Harris

    GO JEN!!!
    Congrats to the both of you!

  • http://regulargeek.com/ robdiana


    This is far too similar to me for my liking :) I forwarded this to my wife as I figure she would appreciate it. And congrats on the 15 years! I still have a little over 3 years to get there.

  • Kszack

    Awesome. Congratulations to you both! Here's to another 15+.

  • Colleen Carrington

    Beautiful, touching post. You two are blessed. Congrats on 15!

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com/you-dont-have-to-be-crazy-to-work-in-social-media-but-it-helps/ You Don’t Have To Be Crazy To Work In Social Media But It Helps | New Comm Biz

    [...] across a great piece in the NYT on entrepreneurship and hypomania. I’ve long suspected that I have hypomania so this article really hit [...]

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