What I Learned This Year
People are doing a lot of “My Year In Status” on Facebook. Which I considered, but then I thought… no, this is better.
“What I Learned This Year” as told by quotes, articles I shared, blog posts I wrote, conversations I had. This year was big and important. This year was awesome!
“I’m antisocial, they say. I don’t mix. It’s so strange. I’m very social indeed. It all depends on what you mean by social, doesn’t it? Do you know, we never ask questions, or at least most don’t; they just run the answers at you, bing, bing, bing, and us sitting there for four more hours.” – Fahrenheit 451
“Giftedness is a drive, an energy, a necessity to act — it’s a need for mastery, intellectually, creatively, and physically — which grows from the need to make sense of the world, to understand the world, and to create one’s world.”
And “You seem to totally analyze things more than anyone else I know!” – My friend Melissa
Just… Supporting Gifted Learners generally. This is the year I learned that what I’d always figured were weird personality quirks of mine actually come from my brain being wired differently. It’s not something I can turn off, change, or stop doing, and I wouldn’t want to anyway.
“During that transition when those walls started to break down, when we saw the insane numbers being talked about in ticket sales, we realized that the world was full of people just like us. All hiding our nerdy interests out of fear of ridicule. These things have a way of leveling out over time. Like what you want to like. It’s your love of unconventional shit that makes awesome things happen.”
“What I like most of all is just doing nothing.”
“How do you do just nothing?”
“Well, it’s when grownups ask: ‘What are you going to do?’ and you say ‘Nothing.’ And then you go and do it.“
“I like that. Let’s do it all the time.”
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Fanfiction is a valid form of creative expression, especially when I understand exactly what I get out of it. (I am going to immerse myself into these worlds and analyze the hell out of them regardless. I will always tell these stories. Might as well actually write them down.)
“All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there’s a gap. For the first couple of years what you’re making isn’t so good. It’s trying to be good. It has ambition to be good. But it’s not quite that good. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is good enough that you can tell what you’re making is kind of a disappointment to you. A lot of people never get past that phase. A lot of people, at that point, they quit. Everybody who does interesting creative work went through a phase of years where they could tell what they were making wasn’t as good as they wanted it to be. Everybody goes through that. It’s totally normal. And the most important thing you can do is a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work. Because it’s only by going through a volume of work that you’re going to catch up and close that gap. And the work that you’re making will be as good as your ambition. It’s going to take you a while.” – Ira Glass
And “I don’t know if you know this, but you are a writer.” – my friend Steph
A lot about writing. This is a continuation of last year, but really: how to build stories out of seedling ideas and snapshots and scenes and questions. How to find patterns and arcs. How to write so many words and live with a character for so long that they become real. How to use verbs and adjectives. And that process creates product. Sometimes I feel like I’m still in that “gap of years” (sometimes I think everyone always is, that’s what “getting better with time” is.) But this year is the year I passed the point of thinking about quitting and crossed into “only by going through a volume of work can you close the gap.”
Empathizing with someone is not the same thing as condoning their actions (“I get where you’re coming from” does not equal “I agree with you.”)
“I just get excitable as to choice, like to have my options open.” – Serenity
My inability to make a decision to save my life is not necessarily a bad thing, especially when I understand that at its root it comes from high empathy and strong-perspective taking skills and an unwillingness to settle when I know that there are other better options possible.
And, you do not solve problems by trying to be “right,” ever.
And that maybe two weeks of not having to go to work is too long to stay in my own head. Or maybe, it’s just long enough.