For the first time that I’ve ever noticed, I’ve had a full year with an overall theme. Not just a random mishmash of haphazard life events (though those still happened) but a set of important experiences and revelations that all work towards the same motif. This is the year that I found my voice.
No I was not bound by a vow of silence in a remote German monastery, or trapped within an iron mask to prevent me from taking the crown from my usurping cousin.Nope, it was a lot less exciting than that. I found my creative voice by working on WitchKids and its sequel. I found my political voice by enduring the humiliating discomfort of being on the losing side of an election(the really, REALLY losing side). And more importantly, these experiences and my need to share and explore the new ideas has made me into a social creature.
I know, you all seem shocked when I talk about being socially anxious, and I’ll admit that I’ve always been pretty good at conversational situations that I had some control over. But now, I’m willing to talk to pretty much anyone at any time, flying without a safety net. Big gatherings full of strangers dont’ frighten me any more. In the interest of full disclosure, I am still a little intimidated by a room full of complete strangers, but I think I’m now at a level of stress that you could qualify as ‘normal’.
I give credit to my life-long love affair with the sound of my own voice: when you love something this deeply, you want to share it with everyone around you. The next step might be talking to random people on public transit, in the mall food court, anyplace where a person might stand still for a few moments. And then, triumphantly, my transformation into a crazy old man will be fully complete. (Serious note: I give all the credit to the unflinching kindness and support I receive continually from my wonderful wife. Best wife ever.)
Another benefit of this willingness to talk and interact with people is that I can withstand salespeople now. No more running from a guy trying to sell me something. I don’t begrudge him – he’s doing his job, trying to get me to buy something, but I do not have to buy anything from him just because he really wants me to.