This Is Who I Am
I Am An Optimist.
By Choice. It's not easy. It's actually really very hard right now to be an optimist. But I have chosen to be one, because I believe that optimism is the best route to effecting actual change for the better.
I Am Excited.
I get excited about things. When I am interested in something I will dive deep into it. If it's a product I will learn all about how it's made and who makes it and why. I can tell you far too much about the founders of Apple and Microsoft because I got deep into their histories. I read Linus Torvald's Autobiography. Twice. I know the names of the founders of Field Notes, and what they do outside of making small pocket notebooks.
If it's a fictional work I will dive deep into the lore. I know a ton about Doctor Who and Xenoblade Chronicles and Lord of the Rings and Dungeons & Dragons and the Belgarion books by David Eddings and so forth.
I do the same professionally. When I was a bookseller I worked hard to understand the world of literature as a 20th century profession. I learned about publishers and imprints and distributors and self-publishing and small-press publishing and vanity presses. I worked on my customer service skills, developed a bookseller “persona” that I could use to be an effective and helpful presence.
When I was a software developer I studied the history and craft of software development. I learned about patterns, anti-patterns, skill acquisition theory, the trends in the marketplace, what languages are likely to grow and which are on the decline. I studied software development as a craft, as poetry, and I tried to learn how to understand people who treat it as a mathematic endeavor.
Now that I'm a manager I study the patterns and theories of effective leadership, seek to provide a safe and helpful presence for those I serve. I regard management as a craft as well. I consider management to be valuable only if it lifts and serves others, if I can provide a way for others to find fulfillment in their work.
I've learned (the hard way) that people don't want me to infodump about things, so I try not to. I understand that my obsession isn't everyone's obsession. But if you want to know, I'm more than happy to share. More than happy.
And I Am Like That With Friends As Well.
I follow Polonius' model of friendship:
... Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch’d, unfledg’d comrade...
(Hamlet, Act I, Scene III)
I'm slow to make new friends, in other words. But when I make a friend, I hold onto them. And I'm all in. I want to know everything about them. I don't do casual. I want to know their likes and dislikes and their other friends and their thoughts and dreams and how they feel about their parents and siblings. What games are they playing? I want to play too! Are they working on a story or book? I'll be the first in line to read a rough draft or buy it when they publish.
I love it when my friends know the same about me. But I understand when people don't want to. Again, I try not to infodump. I try hard not to talk about myself unless it's obvious someone is actually interested, and then I try to say as little as possible so I don't bore them.
And this is why I don't make friends quickly or easily. I understand that this level of connection isn't what a lot of people want from me. That's fine! I can understand that and I can accept work associates or friends-of-friends or what have you.
I Am Done Apologizing for Being Like This.
This is who I am. I've made it more than four decades on this planet acting like this, and I feel that the way I live has provided some value to myself and to the world around me. I work hard to avoid causing offense, and to apologize when I have done wrong.
But I'm no longer convinced that who I am is inherently wrong.