The other night I was talking with a friend, and he asked a great question:

Do we love our jobs because we're focused and driven to do this, or are we focused and driven and that's why we love our jobs? Would we be just as happy doing other things?

We're both the type that study the details of the craft regardless what we are actually doing. Making drinks? Let's learn about bitters! Coffee? Several books in and dozens of purchases just for the purpose of experimentation and learning. I could say that this is all about learning and improving myself, but if I'm honest it's really just because it's fun. This is how I have fun with activities. I invest myself in the knowledge.

This is not an uncommon personality type, especially amongst my peers in the tech world. Many geeks geek out about many other things, write blog posts detailing their perfect coffee pour or baking techniques. But why do we do this? Now I think this is just because it's fun. For us anyway, and it really is. For a while I tried to justify this part of me, though.

I shouldn't be apologetic about it, or think it is irrational or silly. This same trait is what allowed me to come up, push my way into an industry without credentials, and largely succeed (so far, anyway). Why is the trait acceptable in my profession but not in my hobbies? That's bitterly unfair. But it was only me holding this judgement because when I looked around at many others they didn't share this approach.

Instead I end up making excuses to not do things I would enjoy for invalid reasons, and get caught up in unfulfilling habits and patterns. I've never been one to spend hours watching TV, but I can do the same thing in front of video games. But don't get me wrong, I love certain video games and it's a social experience. What's missing is doing things deliberately, consciously, and building on why these things are fun for me. It's hard to realize that you've spent a big chunk of your life diminishing experiences because of some misinterpretation of other people's reactions. At least I realized it, and now I'm going to continue learning about the long and amusing history of baking soda.

"The Journey" by Mary Oliver
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
‘Mend my life!’
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations –
though their melancholy
was terrible. It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice,
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do – determined to save
the only life you could save.