A simultaneously disturbing and heartwarming trend: I'm becoming less nerdy over time.

"Less nerdy" comes with a disclaimer. Random academic snippets hop into my speech far more often; I connect more disciplines, look at desks and food and crowd behavior and think compressive loads, organic chemistry, and fluid dynamics where I wouldn't before. I laugh at more math jokes. It sounds like I've gotten worse. But I've actually gotten better.

I don't like locking myself up in a room with textbooks and pencilling out abstract equations for hours any more. It's still fun, but it's not - connected. Not real. Abstract intellectualism isn't what I do any more; it's a toy, not my life. (I still like it, but it's not my life.)

The world, or whatever subset of it I happen to be in, is my life. Things I thought I've never get to, things like business negotiations, how to navigate delicate political situations, how to actually touch the minds of other people and change things; this is what I think about more often than not. My happy physics textbooks and linguistics books and my TI-89 are tools for that cause, used like painting, speechmaking, running and modern European history are tools. They're tools for tinkering with and hopefully improving the world, not just studying it.

Olin, you've turned me into a renaissance geek.
Thank you for giving me a life.