So I originally started writing this as a “Five Reasons I am Awesome” post, but man. That pulled up some aspects of my personality that I’ve worked very hard to shave down and keep in check. Also, given my general contempt for whining, I am going to follow up each entry with what I’m doing to improve. So how am I NOT awesome? Well…
1. I have ADD.
While there are some upsides to having it, which I’ll write about at a future date, ADD has largely been a detriment to my life. To that end, I have been in therapy for it and I’m currently medicated. My goal for my development is to eliminate the problematic aspects of the condition via the therapy/meds combo while retaining the positives that can be had from the condition.
2. I carry grudges.
There are things that happened in my past, and I’m talking like 30+ years ago, that I still carry with me. They don’t inspire the blind rage that they used to, to be sure, and I’ve been seeing a therapist to help put these things away for good. Where I used to be angry about them on a weekly basis, now I might think about them once a month and then I just sort of chuckle at the absolutely stupidity of it all.
3. I’m an ideas guy.
But wait. Isn’t that a good thing? Sure, and ADD has a good side to it, too. But like every coin, there’s a reverse. Being an ideas guy, I used to really get hung up on just coming up with ideas, and never executing on them1. The work with my therapist and the medications, combined with an overwhelming desire to not piss away my life has gotten me to the point where I’m a.) learning to examine the value of an idea, and then b.) decided whether to tackle it, or plant the seed of the idea with someone else to let them run with it. Additionally, some ideas are fun to think about just as a mental exercise2, and I don’t plan to ever give up on those. It took me a long time to realize it, but the value of an idea is absolutely zero unless you take action on it.
4. I embrace the Oxford comma, and I’ll always put two spaces after a period.
The Oxford comma has legitimate reasons. The two spaces thing is me just being curmudgeonly and enjoying it when people twitch about it.
5. I fear failure.
Historically, this lead me to not try to do the difficult things. Later on in life, it meant that I would fight like hell to avoid failure, even sometimes to ridiculous extremes. I’ve been working very hard to find a happy middle ground in this — I still want to be successful in the things I do, but I can’t throw myself down a flight of stairs (metaphorically) every time I take on a new task.
1. I had the idea for a Reddit-like site in 1998. Like the exact same thing. Never executed on it. Kinda kick myself on that one, sometimes.
2. As a thought exercise, I’ve repeatedly come back to the idea of building a computer using nothing but gaslight-era technologies. I believe it could be done. It would be incredibly rudimentary, but I think you could build a programmable computer using nothing but materials available prior to 1900. Quartz crystal timing would be unavailable as it didn’t occur until 1927, which would make this tough.