39 and Busy
Yesterday I celebrated my 39th free trip around the sun. Occasionally I use my birthday as an opportunity to take stock of "where I am," geographically, personally, professionally, etc. This year, since I'm now blogging, I thought I'd take the opportunity to let my family and friends know how I'm doing. Also, some rare day in the future, my niece or nephew might ask, "What was Uncle Bart like?" And since I haven't lived near them (or my sister) in a long time, hopefully this will provide a bit of an answer.
I am supremely busy, but I am loving life.
That's the big picture, but let me talk about some specifics first. I am a 39-year-old white male, 5'11", with blue eyes (glasses), and close-cut grey hair. My body and face are a little on the chubby side, but so far I've fought a successful battle not to expand beyond a 38-inch waist. I walk swiftly wherever I'm going. A coworker noted that I always seem to be in a hurry, and I usually have a book in my hand for reading or a journal in my hand for writing. Other coworkers have never seen me without one or the other, and another pointed out to me that if I don't have the journal in my hand, there's probably something wrong. To which all I can say is: guilty. I read and write a lot. I'm a writer. That is how I define myself--I work with ideas in the form of text, in my head, on paper, or on a computer.
When I say I'm busy, perhaps I should elaborate a bit. Here's what's on my plate as of August 2008:
- My day job is writing technical papers, presentations, and speeches for the Ares Projects at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
- In my "free" time, I am a member of the National Space Society (NSS), where I chair the Policy Formulation Subcommittee. In short, I write and edit policy papers advocating the exploration, development, and settlement of space.
- On the local level, I am Vice President of the local chapter of NSS, the Huntsville Alabama L5 Society (HAL5). I am also leading the chapter's bid to host the 2011 International Space Development Conference (ISDC).
- I have written proposals and conference papers for the Mars Foundation.
- I am a consulting advisor of MarsDrive, an advocacy group interested in getting more non-space people interested in sending people to the planet Mars.
- To celebrate my 40th free trip around the sun next year, I will be traveling to Europe. To make the process easier, I am trying to learn remedial French, German, and Italian in what remains of my "free" time.
- Occasionally I find time to read books and other things and then write reviews about them. Most of the books relate to my central interest of becoming a better advocate of space.
- I maintain two blogs, this one and another one under a pseudonym (for those days when I feel like expressing thoughts it's probably better not to have my name on).
- I maintain regular presences on Facebook.com and LinkedIn.com.
- I usher for and attend services and Bible study at my church on a weekly basis.
- I still manage to find time to call or email friends and family.
In short, I'm gloriously busy. I wake up in the morning with any number of things to do. Absolute downtime is rare. I find occasion to consume fine food and adult beverages to clear out my internal hard drive. On rare occasions I turn off the brain completely. Such is my life.
I am quick to make friends when in the mood, but often closed off beyond a certain point--the comfort level varies with the individual. I don't forget slights, and dislike poor manners or malicious behavior. My politics run libertarian-conservative or "paleo-conservative" or "Eisenhower conservative," whatever you want to call it. Unlike the neoconservatives of today, I don't believe in big government, a lot of adventures overseas, or unnecessarily poking my political opponents in the eye. My primary means of argument is the vote, which I exercise at nearly every election (I've skipped a few--it happens). I like classical music and soundtracks from science fiction movies, but I also enjoy classic rock and 1980s pop. I am energized at work and slothful or unsocial off-duty. I enjoy conversation one-on-one or presentations in front of crowds, but inevitably withdraw into my quiet apartment at the end of the day. I am a paradox, a pain, and reasonably good guy.
And now I'm late for a meeting. Peace out.