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26 February 2014 @ 05:00 pm
things I like about where I am at this stage in life  
I was just perusing the menu of a new restaurant I'm looking forward to visiting, and considering what I might like to order. There are a few things on the menu that I'm not familiar with, and I imagined sitting down and asking the server for explanations/descriptions/advice. And that in turn made me think of how when I was younger, I feared that asking a question like, "What's the difference between wineA and wineB?" would make me look like I was hopelessly ignorant and didn't belong. So, that got me thinking about some of the things I like about where I am at this stage in life:

* I know the difference between lack of exposure and stupidity, and I'm nearly always comfortable showing my ignorance when I'm in a setting where it's an opportunity to learn
* I'm comfortable liking what I like, even if I'm with people who feel differently
* ... and I don't feel like I have to pressure people into liking what I like, either
* I'm comfortable looking goofy or having fussy or particular needs
* ... and I'm comfortable laughing about it
* I have a large enough understanding of my field to have a sense of the unique skills I bring to my work/organization
* I have enough experience to know I have a lot more to learn and understand about all of this!

How about you?
I'm feeling: thoughtfulthoughtful
David Policardpolicar on February 26th, 2014 11:54 pm (UTC)
I'm not aware of too many things.
I know what I know, if you know what I mean.
Do you?

More seriously: I'm pretty comfortable with the fact that I don't know very much, and that I think really well, and that I get along best with people who value the latter more than the former.
Mizarchivist: Shivamizarchivist on February 27th, 2014 12:58 am (UTC)
I know I have some of that shift on my own old damage here and there. The one that stands out so starkly right now is the difference between my colleagues work style and mine. Two in particular want to sprint towards their goals, they leave me with the impression that they feel they have something to prove.
Me? Not so much. I work at marathon pace, because it'll still be there tomorrow. Forever.
harimad on February 27th, 2014 03:11 am (UTC)
I love being in that place as well.
lazyzlazyz on February 27th, 2014 02:46 pm (UTC)
As the Eskimos say, It's good that we are born childish and grow to be mature, than the other way 'round, paraphrased.
evolution, and some other stuff: West Harbor zombiejacflash on February 27th, 2014 02:48 pm (UTC)
I've noticed somewhat similar shifts professionally over the last little while. It used to be that I just sat here in my little room and wrote about things (in the industry I cover) that interested me. Then one day, a few years ago, I was rather shocked to discover that many of the people I wrote about were reading my stuff. (I discovered this because one of those people, a particularly prominent and famous executive, called me up out of the blue one day. Holy crap. I don't have any formal journalistic training. What do I do now?)

That opened a big door professionally -- the most important (from my employer's perspective) company in my space wasn't just willing to talk to me, but was actually eager to reach out. But it was really daunting for this introverted writerly type. I nervously stammered my way through my first few attempts to interview the important figures in this field. And there was a lot of Impostor Syndrome going on: I don't actually have a formal background in this industry. I just know some stuff, or think I know some stuff. But do I?

But something has changed since then. Last month, I was face to face with a Very Senior Executive who will soon be taking over a massive, prominent global company.... and we were just two guys geeking out over some things that interested us. Interviewing him was the easiest thing in the world for me. It was not the least bit intimidating (in fact, it was a lot of fun). I guess I've realized that I have enough knowledge of my field to (mostly) be on sure ground even when I'm with people who have been living and breathing it for decades, and it's totally okay to ask questions confidently when I'm not. (Because if I don't know, most of my readers sure don't, so I'd best find out, and the people I'm interviewing are usually eager to explain -- that's why they're taking the time to talk to me.) And it turns out that these executives like talking to me because they know I get what they're talking about and they can go into the fine details without fear that I'll completely misunderstand or misrepresent what they said. Wow.
DancingWolfGrrldancingwolfgrrl on February 27th, 2014 04:34 pm (UTC)
I know the difference between my stuff and other people's stuff. I know that my stuff is the only part I can be in charge of, and sometimes I can even let other people's stuff go. Also, I'm okay with the fact that I'm not perfect at this or anything else and am willing to cop cheerfully to a wide variety of fuckups.

I know what I want and most of the time, I trust that. For me, this was hard won. As a corollary, while I don't love it, I'm willing to want things I'm not in control of whether I can have.

blkblk on February 27th, 2014 05:02 pm (UTC)
I'm getting much better at defending my self and my thoughts and feelings instead of letting more aggressive people run over me.
Elizabeth Hunterlillibet on February 27th, 2014 05:40 pm (UTC)
I feel as though this really started happening to me right about the time I turned 35--that I finally had enough data on myself to begin to draw meaningful conclusions. It's one of the things that has made me sanguine about growing older.

Regarding your first point: not long after Jason and I started dating, it was my birthday and he took me out to a fancier-than-usual restaurant for the occasion. They had a leatherbound wine list at least fifteen pages long. Jason leafed through it, but when the sommelier came over to see if we'd like to order wine, he closed the list and simply said "I'm not really familiar with any of these; could you recommend a nice white for under $50?" I was so impressed. And we ended up with a great wine for $35 that became one of our favorites.

Things I like about where I am now:
- my life is full of good things and while the door to others is not closed, I'm able to see that taking on more would mean making choices
- I'm very comfortable setting boundaries and saying no, without worrying about being judged
- I'm comfortable with the idea that I'm mistaken several times a day--generally, though not always about small things--and that's ok*
- I've come to understand that worrying really doesn't help me to deal with anything that might happen, it only saps joy from what is happening

*This was brought to my attention over the weekend, while working on a thing for my show that wasn't turning out right--I did it once and it worked, I did it once and it didn't, I did it again and it worked, I did it again and it didn't. I was asking for others' input and one of the younger people kept trying to reassure me that it wasn't a big deal and I shouldn't beat myself up about it and I finally said "Don't worry, that's not something I do--I'd just like to understand what's happening here." She was shocked. Not beating yourself up is apparently not a skill she's mastered yet.
halfmoon_molliehalfmoon_mollie on February 28th, 2014 07:04 pm (UTC)
Not beating yourself up is apparently not a skill she's mastered yet.

some of us never do.
Elizabeth Hunterlillibet on February 28th, 2014 10:14 pm (UTC)
Understood. If we all did, it might not be something I'd notice to like about myself at this point in my life. I mean, I also like my facility with the English language, but I forget to appreciate that most of the time.