An evening of pontification: clear self-perception and compassionate self-understanding have not come easily to me. It took me a lot of time and often painful effort to untangle the Gordian knot of who I am, who I want to be, and who I thought the world wanted me to be. It’s taken pretty much my whole life up until now, in fact.
During my youth I often wished I could be the life of the party, the ladies’ man, the friend who always knew the right thing to say, the witty putdown artist, the star athlete – so many things that I’ve never been, and never will be. I didn’t try to be all of those things, but I tried to be some of them, and those experiences were…well, many things. Frustrating. Discouraging. Humiliating. It’s a relief to have finally arrived at a psychological place where I have this much clarity about who I am.
On a professional level, I’ve found my life’s work as a children’s author, and I’m phenomenally lucky to have done so. On a personal level, I’m a pretty good friend, at least to people who can accept my incomplete social skill set; a committed, future-minded spouse; and a devoted (if noticeably flawed) father. Those are worthwhile things to be. They’re not all exciting in a way that our often superficial society tends to value, but they’re valuable nevertheless. I can feel good about all of them.