The Company You Keep

The Company You Keep

By Jeff Bajorek

Yesterday was my favorite day of the year.

Since 1999, my friends and I have been gathering together for a pre-Thanksgiving party in my home.

It started as kind of a gag- "Let's get dressed up and do something fancy" (you know, while sitting on the floor, eating off of paper plates with a keg of beer in the bathtub). We called it a Thanksgiving Feast with Merriment to Follow. I mailed paper invitations.

The food wasn't great, but there was a novelty to it, and we did it again the next year.

And the next year...

This was our 24th gathering, having only missed in 2020 because putting 40+ people in my basement during COVID just didn't pass the say-it-out-loud test.

Over the years, we've lost and added people. Most of us have gotten married. Some of us have divorced. There are a lot of kids.

As we've gotten older, I see some of these folks socially more than others, and sometimes only at this event. But the thing that has remained constant is that these are my people. They've made, and continue to make me, who I am.

From college dorm antics, long nights watching stupid movies, and inside jokes that only we find funny to conversations about love, loss, running businesses, and raising families.

We talk about what it means to do the right thing, especially when it's hard, and the right thing isn't clear.

On this day every year, we get to celebrate this thing together.

It was probably 15 years ago that I realized that every person in my house that day inspired me to be better at some aspect of my life. Not in a self-deprecating, unhealthy perfectionism kind of way, but in how each person brings something unique to the table that enriches my life.

Intelligence, charisma, storytelling, innocence, humor, kindness, patience... the list goes on.

It would be several more years before I heard Jim Rohn say that you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with. I've surrounded myself with this rotating cast of 50 characters since I was 20.

My wife and I were sitting at breakfast yesterday thinking about what this event has turned into: how it's kept us together for more than half of our lives, how it's influenced some of our kids to do this themselves (they're the age we were when this started), and how many people just hear about it and think it's so cool.

It is, and there's no way that I would have thought this thing would go on for almost 25 years with no sign of stopping.

The term "Friendsgiving" gets used a lot more these days, and we're not the only ones who do it. We still mail paper invitations, even though most know what the Saturday before Thanksgiving means. It means I get to see my people: to reconnect, eat, laugh, talk about how old we feel and how big the kids are getting.

 Who are your 5? Your 25? Your 50?

If the past few years have taught us anything, it's that we have a lot more choice in the matter than we may have thought prior. Be intentional with your choices, especially when choosing the people you spend time (and grow up) with.

Now that it's officially "The Holidays," celebrate them.

Send a note. Send a text. Send them some trinket you saw online that made you think of them.

Thank them for their friendship. Thank them for their business. Thank them for their love.

The people you surround yourself with all represent a piece of you. Do you like what you see?

This list of people who read my writing every week has grown throughout the years. I sincerely hope you find reading it as valuable as I find writing it.

Thank you for being here.


Jeff Bajorek helps sales teams design and implement their sales strategies with a focus on the fundamentals, and by noticing what others don't.

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