...another year has come and gone...

It's that time of year once more...

In the abstract, it's always been easy to figure out what to post on my birthday. I can think about it in the car on my way in to work and have some ideas of where to go and what to say, but when it comes time to put fingers to keys to actually write something, words scatter like dust in a sunbeam. Funny how that happpens, usually with really personal things. So, time for a little nonlinear text editing, where I scribble random ideas, and go back later to rearrange and flesh them out.

So, what have I learned in the past year? Rather a lot, actually...

First and foremost, I've learned that I'm a lot stronger than I knew. The past two months or so have been a perfect storm for me, and it hasn't been an easy time. It's been painful, frustrating, and fraught with emotional torment. I might write about that bit someday, but not now. It's shattered my confidence time and again, each time after I thought that I'd made a start of piecing things back together. It's also caused me to re-evaluate everything I've been doing up until now, and wondering if it had all been worth it, or even worth anything at all. The jury's still out.

Until the process is done, there is no escaping it. Not no way, not no how. Trying to fight it is the wrong way to go. Through the middle one step at a time is how to get through it. There probably won't be much left by the time you're done, but if you look around carefully you'll find new bits and pieces of yourself laying on the ground. Make use of them. I think - think - that things are starting to look up now.

On the flip side of the coin, I've also learned that not feeling pain can be just as dangerous as too much of it. Case in point, the abscess that started drilling tunnels through my upper jaw. There's an Eclipse Phase plot point in there somewhere.

I've learned that when you ignore that little voice inside that says "I don't know about this..." you can do surprising things. I did some things that I never even dreamed I'd do last year - I presented at CarolinaCon and HOPE and I got to travel overseas and present at IS4CWN. There were two major software releases, too.

I learned that 'almost ready' is not the same as 'ship it.' That's why Byzantium Linux v0.3a isn't on the Net yet, it's 'almost ready'.

I was published for the first time last year in Zero State Year Zero. The essays therein are what the Zero State are basing some of their future plans on.

I've learned that, when you're on a roll it's easy to overextend yourself and wind up looking like an outtake from Mythbusters. Sometimes you have to pass and let somebody else step up.

I've learned that life isn't safe and claiming that anything really is, is claiming a falsehood. There is potential danger in everything, though the probability of it manifesting is usually rather small. A little common sense will tell you that. Accept it.

I found beauty in desolation. I saw the cores of enterprise burn cold in the aftermath.

I learned that you can't always count on people who have promised help. Don't waste time complaining about it, activate plan B and leave 'em in the dust, because it's the only way things are going to get done.

I learned that when something is really important to you, and you can't do it alone, there are people who will join you.

I learned that doing good in the world sometimes comes without credit, without recognition, and without thanks. That's not really the point. The point is that you helped some people, and that's what really matters.

I learned that not everybody is okay with kilts, even those not being worn traditionally.

I've learned that solitude is how I handle things best. White noise is an okay substitute.