“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Weekends were for ambitious projects in my family. Someone would announce a plan for the day — it could be anything — and I remember the weekend that my mom decided we would make a picnic table.

My parents are architects, well acquainted with building things more complicated than a picnic table, but that weekend, it was something we built collaboratively as a family. I remember my mom asking me what it should look like (“you can choose?!”), learning that we needed an extra board running diagonally (“to prevent it wiggling back and forth”), and seeing how to paint it (“these brushstrokes will make people think it was done professionally”). Through building something together with my parents, I learned about a lot more than a picnic table. I picked up insights about planning, hard work, thoughtfulness, and humility.

My life will be modeled after that day of collaborative building. Together with my wife, we will build our family. With my friends, we will build long-lasting relationships. With my current and future colleagues, we will build businesses together. And when a yard presents me with a shady place in need of someplace to sit, I even plan to build a picnic table or two.

— Brandon Angelini