I've got so many happy things to write about today, starting with warm beet soup and Colin showing up in a neon yellow jacket and a tandem bike to take me out to Olin for gurufest. It was wonderful. Gravel-filled roads and curving hills and too-low seats that can't be raised and pumping the pedals together fighting a cranky rear derailleur, and triple-knotted shoelaces that won't stay tied. I say this with no sense of irony; it was those tiny ideosyncracies that made it one of the best getting-picked-up journeys I've had.
Gurufest itself was incredibly productive, and Colin (who organized gurufest) is a budding community catalyst - he has the awesome power to make things happen, to move in and out and patch things smoothly together, to do what has to be done (like picking up your speaker on a tandem bike when a ride falls through at the last moment). Predictably, I turned my 4-hour speech slot into a "let's all get a concrete first (or next) step on a project done!" work session. (Well... I actually did have a speech prepared - an 18-minute long one - but when I saw the audience was full of people who already grokked community-building, I thought it would be nicer not to tell them things that they already knew.)
I'm also tired and frustrated (but in a good way that I can step back and learn from). There are a lot of things I'm working on, I'm learning how to manage them, I'm learning how to deal with having limitations. Dealing responsibly with having limitations and still feeling boundless with a sense of abundance that informs the way I work and live; it's an unstable equilibria that is delicious to stay poised on, when I can.
I've recognized that some of my tiredness and frustration come from my... lack of a next place to learn from, if that makes sense. I'm essentially a consultant now, albeit an unpaid one. I've learned a lot, am still learning a lot, and am learning how to teach myself things - and also what the limitations of being self-taught are for various things I care about learning. I haven't hit the wall of "I can teach myself no further" yet; I don't think it's a wall but an asympote of diminishing returns. But I can feel the curve starting to go; I've passed an inflection point, and I am getting diminishing returns.
I'm ready for an apprenticeship. I want to work on someone else's project, learn from them, watch them, absorb. Get the exposure and the words I need to learn how to ask questions so that I can learn more on my own. To be able to wear the hat of protege along with that of mentor (multiple times over, in a somewhat intimidating fashion - but it's nice to be able to teach). To be able to do that for an extended period of time, not just a project sprint - I want to watch how wise people deal with longer time cycles, as I can only plan a few hours (or if I'm really working hard on it, days) out. Beyond that, it's a blank; I have no sustained melody to improvise from, just short phrases.
It's good timing - I have two weeks left in my self-allotted "explore things!" period, and I really am starting to want to look for a job. Not because of financial pressures. But because I honestly think that it's the best next way for me to grow, working under and alongside people I admire. So. I've noticed myself looking more actively for these kinds of opportunities. And I will try to nurture it, because it seems to be doing me good.
Tonight: Gurufest followup, and the Boston-area pilots Friday update.
This weekend: SL Participate page, post lipreading notes, SL wiki accuracy-check, try out the CFS image and customization key sticks and make sure I can get them to work, get Sean interview text for the Sugar 0.84 press release.
And then of course music and training and email. And rest and thinking and reading - I've got two Howard Gardner books to read. I realized a few days ago that one of the things I like about reading Gardner is that he explains his personal journey towards understanding the concepts he's presenting in his books - something I seem to also gravitate towards doing. It's teaching others in a way that incidentally aids your own introspection.