Lately, Caroline Meeks has been one of the biggest reasons that I want to go to education grad school.

Educators work so that people can become participants in communities of practice. (From an article on CoP)

That's the kind of teacher that I want to be.

I'm calmer now, and sweeping up my flaking-out-ness. One thing I'm learning (slowly, over the years) is that I need to spend more time preparing. I still assume 100% max productive time while working, but I need to budget for setting myself up properly to do things well. Little things, like having lunch ready so I don't have to think about it when the time comes. Things like starting my computer up before I take a shower in the morning, so it's there ready to work when I walk back to the kitchen table. Make sure my machete's sharp at night so I can pick it up and start whacking down bushes in the morning so my teammates can run over a flat field without thorns.

Also over the last... year, two years, month, something - I've also begun to see why it's nice (or rather, would be nice) to have someone(s) to come home to. The default solution that my mother pushes is getting married to a nice (Catholic Chinese?) guy. That's certainly the... I was about to say "easiest solution," but I'll say "default," because that's where most of the easiness-perception comes from. It's not the only one, though. And it doesn't feel like the right one for me for many reasons - at least not now, and I don't really see that changing in the future. (But I've been wrong before.)

Living in a big house with friends sounds great now, and I think there are enough people I know who'd still be up for that even if/when they have a spouse and children that I might be able to manage that somehow. I liked it when my aunts stayed with us when I was a child; I would like to have that sort of relationship with a family with kids, blood relatives or no. People have said they'll let me do that, but I know that it's easy to say these sorts of things ("oh yes, of course I'd still be up for doing that even if I have kids!") when you're young, so I'm not holding anyone to it. Most of my friends are, like me, still young enough that we don't even know what we'll be doing or where we'll live next year, let alone how we will want to live 10, 20 years from now.

I guess I could always annoy my brother. He'll probably have a family someday too, though.

The thing is that friends grow up, and they pair off, and then they have another person that's their other half/soulmate/partner/spouse/what-call-it-you. I think that's wonderful. I wish this happiness on every friend I have who wants it, and am happy for the friends I have who have it. I don't want to get in the way of any of it. I've written about this before. I think I've expressed this idea as "being the Nth wheel."

I realize this is the classical dilemma of the single person. The difference is that most of the single people I know plan on not being single in the future - and they probably won't be, you know. They'll get married or something. But I can see myself being this way for the rest of my life. I'm not afraid of it - I know if I wanted to not be single, I could probably manage that pretty quickly. But I don't want to not be. (This paragraph is officially too logically convoluted now.) I think about stuff like a triple 30" monitor setup, a workshop in my basement, a job that has me traveling over half the year working with technical communities, maker house, starting my own company, becoming a professor - things of that sort - I think about them with an "Oh! Someday I will! It would be wonderful!" air. When I think about being married or having kids, my first thought is "why would I want to do that?" I can see why other folks might like it. I can also see why someone might love being a dentist or a civil engineer, but that doesn't mean I'd love doing that too.

The thing that gives me pause is not knowing what that means for when I get older. People who plan to not-be-single have plenty of precedents to look at. I'm not so thrilled at the precedents for lifelong singleness that I can find. (I mean, I'd be a total failure as a nun. Really.)

I think I've got that out of my system now. All right. Writing has always been a good outlet for me.

So... hey, adobo for dinner tonight! I'm going to try to get myself back into a state that I can do good work in.

Lists. I like making lists. Here is a list of things that I should do.

  • I refuse to be upset by someone without announcing it to them.
  • I choose to shoulder the responsibility of confirming that people understand the conversations that we have together. If someone misunderstands me, it is my fault. It is also my responsibility to make sure I understand do not confirm my understanding of what someone else says and I misunderstand them, it is also my fault.
  • I will watch out for my own unstated assumptions. Chief among those is that I will not assume people understand something or will do something or do not need anything else from me unless they confirm that they do or that they will or that they don't, respectively. Basically, I will ask... and ask, and ask and ask and ask. (Hopefully my questions will be interesting.)
  • When I decide to focus, I will focus on one thing at a time, and not be distracted from it 'till it's done or time runs out or whatever other criteria I set gets triggered. I will make it clear to myself whether I am focused or not at any given point in time. I will also use my focus-powers sparingly and wisely (since I can't be focused all the time) and set things up so that I can focus, when I decide to.

Marco! Marco is wonderful. Dogi is wonderful too. What's that they say about organizations - come for the mission, stay for the people? It's so true.

Now I can work. Right on.