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Mental Health, & Small Business Fog

For the past decade+, my 4am, 90 minute walk has been my saving grace. It has helped me sort out a host of challenges while the world is still sleeping.

This morning I passed my town's sign, and was alerted to May being Mental health Awareness month.

scotch plains, mental health
Mental Health Awareness Month

I've been stuck in my own head for the past couple of weeks, for a few reasons:

  1. Take your Kid To Work Day, and the negativity I perceived around it

  2. Campus Protests across the country, and the increasing "noise" that will only increase in an election year.

  3. The loss of an old colleague of mine to tragic circumstances...

The above have created real brain fog in my head! I've been through times that are 100X more trying than this and have felt sharp as a tack. But the fog is here, so it doesn't discriminate on my own challenges...and how fitting with walking by this morning's sign.

Take Your Kid To Work Day

Dominic will be starting his 5th year at PAVERART in a couple of months, and he's the ripe old age of 16. He also supports our business throughout the year, usually a couple hours a week. So when his high school sent out the mass email that April 25, 2024 will be an excused absence for those that choose to participate in "Take your Child to Work Day," I chuckled and forwarded him the note: On the road by 5:30am!

But truth be told, the day before I was annoyed. My wife mentioned that many of the parents said "That's a 3rd-6th grade program, nobody in the high school participates!" So I decide to post the question on our town Facebook group, a very active town group of 25k highly vocal citizens. Sure enough, in no time multiple teachers confirmed and gave their reasons why nearly NOBODY participates.

  • After school sports

  • Test pressure

  • Make Up pressure/inconvenience.

So it's a program, and it's official. And it's simultaneously non existent. An opportunity to bring kids into the "real world" is lost on 99% of the kids in high school (and I'm being generous with 1%). That bothered me for 48 hours. still does.

But the day started, and I've captured a few pics with some thoughts below:

Juan & Family, Dom, Greyson & Brian, Pizza and the Rest of the Gang

Paverart, designs, small business, culture
PAVERART Take Your Child To Work Day

Dom, Jimmy and Our Friend Sal From Tough Turf, PAVERART's FIRST Customer 21 years Ago

PAVERART, streetscape, landscape architecture
PAVERART Wildwood Streetscapes

John, Angel & Little Arthur!!!

paverart, inlay, designs, culture
A New PAVERART Team Member!
Random Observations on Take Your Kid To Work Day:
  • How can you look at a baby and NOT smile?

  • A baby sitting on PAVERART? You had me at hello!

  • I have a fear of heights. Dom was pretty high up attaching a camera to the ceiling. That beats physics class.

  • Brian's son Greyson is growing up fast. It's amazing the amount of growth that happens at a young age over 5+ years.

  • Pizza makes everything better.

  • Putting picture collages together like the above always makes me slow down, take a deep breath and smile. I'm grateful for all the faces, sights and sounds in my life.

Randomness is always fun. When a customer comes by to pick up a project I usually try and introduce myself. This was special.

History matters: Meeting Sal from Tough Turf was special. Sal & I had a few minutes to chat. He was there when Wildwood NJ, our first project at PAVERART was installed. It has endured 2 decades+!

Dominic and I had to leave early. We went to meet a client at a Veteran's Memorial who needs help with the engraving memorials. We spent a good hour chatting about ideas, how to overcome a few challenges, and how we can be a partner that will stand the test of time. Good old fashioned, in person, in the field communication.

No screens. No computers. And it was wonderful.

I know Dominic felt a bit of pressure missing a day of school, the makeup work, etc. But I think he would even agree that seeing a couple of key customers, our team, solving a few problems and spending a day outside of the classroom was a net positive. Hopefully the other kids thought so as well.

Back to Mental Health

I am glad that the topic of Mental Health is no longer taboo. Too many people are fighting fights too numerous to name. Some can't even identify the fight, the enemy (if one exists) and who is in their corner (or not). The world can be pretty heavy and lonely when approached as a soloist.

A few weeks ago, I learned that a former colleague of mine lost his life, to suicide. It's heartbreaking. And I can now fill up a hand with people in the same tragic fate in my career. Each time I learned of it I said the same thing to myself: I WISH THEY SOUGHT HELP.

One year ago, I went into Mike's office and as I often do, I downloaded the madness of my morning battles in my own head. He had a pretty serious look on his face and said, "we need to put this on the pod, it may help somebody."

So we recorded the following Hustle or Bust Podcast, and titled it: The Mental Freight Train.

For anybody that is stuck in their own head (or worse), struggling, or needs an ear and/or perspective, please don't fight the battle alone. Whoever may read this, there's a good chance I don't know you, your past/present, which may actually be a good thing. Please don't hesitate to call or text.

Cell: 908-873-7522

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