I used to be cool.
Not "tech bro" cool or "hedge fund guy" cool.
But I did some things that some cool people do.
I was a musician in high school ... for a while. I played the clarinet, which isn't THAT cool. But I played it at Carnegie Hall, which is pretty cool.
I was an athlete in college ... for a while. I was on the crew team, which I definitely thought was cool. We were undefeated my freshman year, which was very cool. But I didn't really fit in.
After a couple of years, getting up at 4:45 AM and putting on a sweatshirt over 2 t-shirts and a layer of spandex before riding my bike up Commonwealth Ave and over the bridge to the boathouse seemed more "dumb" than "cool".
I lifted a lot of heavy things and showed up to a lot of practices. But I was no Kobe.
Sports wasn't my forever home.
In 1998, between the organic chemistry and molecular biology classes I took toward my biology major, I taught myself to build web sites using Dreamweaver.
Yahoo! was still cool back then. And I thought it was the coolest thing ever to be able to build basically anything, from nothing, just using my imagination and some code.
I dreamed of being a bazillionaire, just like "everyone else".
I worked at some swanky agencies building web-sites. I did the whole starving startup founder thing for a year. And I worked for a few other enthusiastic, but disorganized startups that never went anywhere.
The 10-hour days learning more and more, and more about building systems with software were punishing. And I felt miserable. But I believed I was just paying my dues, and that it would all pay off "in a couple of years or so". And I imagined that would be cool.
I met a woman and fell in love. Being in love is cool and I was happy, mostly, I think.
After a few years I felt stuck professionally. I knew that I knew a lot. But I didn't know what I didn't know. So I went back to school for a masters degree in computer science.
Grad school was cool, very cool. We had cool friends and did cool things.
I graduated and got a job.
We bought a cool little house in the cool part of town.
I did cool work.
We had a cool couple of kids.
Life seemed cool.
But this seemed like "it". Not the cool "it" as in "we've arrived and everything's amazing" "it". It was more of the "We're happy-ish, but something's missing. Something still isn't right and it really doesn't seem like we're gonna find it here" kind of "it".
So, I got a new, cool job out in San Francisco. But that was my peak, for a while.
Life became less and less cool into my early forties.
All the cool bits started to seem more and more "out there" and less and less "in here".
I knew people that seemed cool, until they weren't.
I built cool things that solved hard problems for work. But they weren't "cool" cool. The problems they solved were more familiar to the people I worked with than the widgets I created to solve them. I learned that familiarity is cool.
Nothing terrible happened. But, we got divorced.
I drove a Camry, then a Beemer.
I fell in love, hard.
And then COVID happened, and everything got weird very quickly. Some people I care about moved. Some family members died.
Life was suddenly neither cool nor familiar. And I needed to find myself again. So I got lost.
I moved across the country and got a dog. For the first time in a decade I had a backyard. And I could go outside and just stare at a tree or sit in the sun if I wanted to.
Some days I did. Most days I didn't. But I could, which was cool.
The rest of my story takes us down a long and complicated rabbit hole that you can read about here and there on my blog.
There's some shiny bits and some messy bits. The shiny bits are more fun. But the messy bits might be more familiar.
I meditate a lot. I read a lot more. I'll talk about that here too.
I write stuff for people. And I sell some things. I like what I do.
It turns out I'm not who I thought I was, which makes sense in retrospect.
I feel happier now that I know that. And I even smile when I think about what life might have been like if I'd known sooner what I know now.
But that's sort of the magic of life. And I'm excited about what I can do from here on out.
I hope you'll reach out and say "Hi". I like sayin' "Hi" to nice people.
Until then, I wish you well.
Take care, and I'll see you around ...