Well hi, there. Thanks for stopping by to read more about me. So here I am at 49 years old (as of 2018), trying to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life. I’m in a good career that gives me absolutely no personal satisfaction, but I make decent money. How long will it last? I’m not sure, but I know I can’t keep it up for the next 20 years.
I’ve done fairly well for myself over the years, but I just don’t feel satisfied, or that I’m doing everything I could, or should do. I struggle with the balance of ambition and laziness. My most difficult part of the day is simply getting out of bed in the morning. My dreams are so much better than my life, not that my life is bad, it’s not. But as I get to the wrong side of 50, I question myself more and more as “what am I going to do when I grow up”. I could live another 40 or 50 years with the way technology is going. What the hell am I going to do for the next 40 years? I’m bored already.
Let me try to introduce myself. My name is Iain (that’s Ian, or “ee-an” for you normal folk). I was born in California, moved to rural Illinois when I was 7, to Indiana when I was 13, back to Illinois when I was 15, back to CA when I was 18, and to Texas when I was 32, and I’ve been there ever since.
I don’t have any childhood friends. I don’t have a single person I talk to from one of the two high schools I attended. I don’t have a single friend from college I still talk to, although I could probably get my old college roommate to go for a beer if I were in town.
I do have a few friends now. I have a best friend I talk to almost every day. A few others that I don’t keep in regular contact with, but can go see anytime I’m in town. I’m kind of an introvert. I was tagged as something called an “extroverted introvert.” Yeah, that makes sense. I’m an INFP-A if you track those types of things.
It makes sense to me, though. If I walk into a crowded bar, office, scene, and I don’t know anyone, I will remain not knowing anyone. However, if the same scene has people I know, I come alive and am very outgoing and friendly. Some might say personable, even.
And then there’s my day job. I’m a salesperson. Well, at least I was. Now I’m a sales manager, but I was a great salesperson. I was so good that they promoted me to manage other salespeople. I know, the cardinal sin of management.
But I try to manage the way I like to be managed. I try to understand what my team really wants personally, not just the interests of the company, and help them work towards it. One of my proudest moments is that one of my protégés retired from this industry at 30 years old, nearly free and clear.
I don’t have any protégés now. I’ve tried to become one.
I’m the son of an electrical engineer, so my dad wasn’t the mechanical type. That led to me not being all that mechanical, although I always had the interest to be mechanical, to be good with my hands. I always wanted to know how things worked. I took apart everything growing up, but could never get things back together again. Now, decades later, I realize that I would love to work with my hands. At the end of the day, I love to look back and see what I created. In my day job, I’m constantly reminded of the Billy Crystal line in “City Slickers”, “I sell air.” That’s not true, I sell software. But the idea is there. At the end of the day, there’s nothing to show for my work but a bunch of corporate logos and a pile of cash.
Which isn’t a bad thing. That pile of cash allows me the freedom to try other things, to have ridiculous hobbies and try to figure out how to come to terms with the rest of my life. If I were struggling paycheck to paycheck, I wouldn’t be worrying about these things. It wasn’t always this way, though. I used to be a technical person. I was the guy who made sure the salespeople weren’t lying too much. Then I realized how much more money salespeople made and jumped on the team, switched sides, “joined the dark side,” as some like to say.
I never lost my technical side, though, and it actually helped me in sales. I didn’t need the technical training wheels like other people did. So one of my hobbies has always been to stay technical. I run Linux servers in my house, I run custom firmware on my routers, I code when I can, and generally try to keep up to date. I wrote a website for my wife that allows us to keep track of our DVDs and Blue-rays.
So I’m going to list some of the other things I’m into in the hopes that this will resonate with someone. At least you will see my struggle from the variety of shit I get myself into.
I used to golf. I got my handicap down to a 9 from a 16 in a year. I played 80 rounds of golf that year and was 140% of quota. Got bored. I then quit golf because getting from a 9 handicap to a 5 no longer makes the game fun. Funny how life is, things that you desire become less fun once you get closer to success.
I collect watches, or at least I used to. I’ve moved to lower-end watches now, but the idea of a mechanical watch really struck a chord with me. The patience and precision required to build a watch by hand still amazes me. I still have my collection, but other distractions have put this on hold for now.
I was a musician. I play harmonica and some guitar. I played harp in blues bands, and it’s one of the few things that I can say I truly love. With that comes a love for old tube amplifiers and microphones. I haven’t played in years. Mostly because my dog used to howl when I played, and it’s really hard to play harmonica and giggle. He passed away earlier this year, so I guess I can start playing anytime now. We’ll see if the rescue mutt takes to harp any better than the pure breed did.
My undergrad degree is in literature. I’m not a bookworm. The first book I read was Huckleberry Finn in the 10th grade. I wrote an essay for that book that got a lot of attention from my teacher at the time. It was the first time I realized I could write. I pursued that eventually in college after looking down the last two years of a journalism degree that included class projects and the most unethical people I’ve ever known. It’s no surprise to me what’s going on in our supposed “official” media right now. I’ve written off and on ever since.
I learned how to program on the job in technical support. First Visual Basic (I taught myself BASIC in high school from old DOS manuals), then C, C#, etc. My most recent project, the website for my DVDs, was written in PHP, although I don’t really know it, I just hacked it to make it work. I’m good like that.
I’ve built my own computers for years. Everything except laptops, although I’ve upgraded a few of those, too. Unlike a lot of the programmers I know, I can do hardware, too.
I played sports most of my life until I was about 25 and got a real job. Soccer was my biggest one, followed by racquetball and martial arts.
I got bored at work and went back to get a Master’s Degree a few years ago in Information Technology specializing in information security. It took me four years.
Then there are my cars. I’ve always loved my cars. My dad had a Porsche back in the early 70s. I’ve had more cars than I can shake several sticks at, and when I stopped collecting watches, I tried to collect cars. That’s on hold as well because I started to race cars as well. That developed into a whole series that I helped develop and ended up with me owning six race cars with more to be built. You can read all about that over here. It’s what made me realize I could do a blog.
I like guns, cigars, vodka, beer, bourbon, brandy and most things guys like. I don’t however, hunt. I love animals too much, although, if I’m being honest, I’d hunt feral hogs.
I have a rescue Husky mutt and seven cats now. One is blind, she’s the newest and is only a little over a year old. She’s laying on the floor of my office while I write this. I can say that I’ve probably never loved anything as much as how much I care for this little creature.
So when I ask myself, for the purpose of writing a blog, “what do I have to share with the world?” I struggle with coming up with a solid answer. My goal, my pursuit, is to be unique, to be different than anyone else, to walk my own path, to make up my own mind, to fight labels and challenge closed-mindedness. But I align myself with conservatism. There are many days when I just wish I was normal, like everyone else. Then there are days when I write something and I’m glad I’m not “normal.”
So this blog will be about many things. But, first and foremost it will be about helping other people. So when content gets popular, I will strive to keep vamping on a topic that gets attention because it would seem to be what people want. Rarely does a writer get to see his beloved creations get the most love. I’m OK with that. I’m not doing this to show how much of an artist I am, or anything else. I’m doing this to get all this in my head out in the hopes that I’ll find some solace once I do.