I was afraid...
When I had to leave preschool / kindergarten and start at my elementary school. (And I was afraid to leave and go to high school).
When I got my leg stuck in a tree while spying on the neighbor kids. (Luckily our neighbors helped get me out).
When I had to get a S H O T. (I figured out the S meant shot, but wasn't sure what the rest of the acronym was. Also, apparently I can project when I yell).
When I got called to the principal's office. (Apparently it doesn't go on your permanent record).
When I got my first $100 phone bill for using the 300 baud Atari 835 modem during peak zone phone call hours and my dad yelled at me. (We figured it out.)
When I left for college. (And made life-long friends).
When I played PWEI's "Not Now James" on the radio and the F-bomb sailed out over the airwaves. (Shit happens. Whoops).
When I got lost at D bar A, a Boy Scout Camp, in the middle of the night when I needed to use the bathroom. (My dad managed to find me).
When we did our first performances as Blackat Chiquita. (Mass Confusion was one of our best songs, plus we did a lot of covers, including "Sweet Child of Mine" in a chapel. Got in trouble for that one).
When I went on my first roller coaster. (It became my favorite. RIP Boblo Island Corkscrew).
When I went on the Magnum at Cedar Point. (I swore the whole way down and bought a shot glass to commemorate it).
When I transitioned over to using Linux full-time. (Still haven't missed Microsoft).
When I went to a juggling club. (They're really cool).
When I was juggling with a juggler who was on David Letterman and the sun was in my eyes. (I managed to hold it together).
When I met my wife. (She wasn't thrown off by my ruse of introducing myself as "Mortimer Snerd". She's smarter than me).
When I got my first non-retail job. (It actually launched my career in the right direction).
When I had to drive the freeway to get to my first job. (I love driving freeways now).
When I got my first ticket. (Apparently it also doesn't go on your permanent record).
When I met two of my programming heroes at Classic Gaming Expo. (OMG! OMG! OMG! Tee hee!).
When I was laid off the first time. (Turns out being "on the bench" was my severance pay. Would have been nice to know that).
When I went in for allergy shots. (Thankfully I didn't yell this time around).
When 9/11 happened. (Life didn't stop then, either).
When my machine was hacked. (Telnet isn't secure?).
When I went to my first Ubuntu Loco meeting. (Found life-long friends there too. Who knew?)
When I went to my first users group meeting. (I've been on the board for over a decade, last I checked).
When I went to my first Penguicon. (They're actually pretty cool).
When we got married. (JoDee was more interested in getting to the honeymoon and being done with the ceremony).
When we moved to our first apartment. (First time "on our own").
When our apartment building had a fire. (Fortunately our apartment was spared).
When the sprinklers in the apartment building went off the next day. (Though we did put bags over everything).
When we moved again. (Still not a fan of moving).
When I applied and was accepted to Sourceforge. (Still not sure how I got that job).
When I shared hosting duties with Rick for Lococast. (We did fine).
When I started up Open Metalcast. (9 year, 192 regular episodes. Wonder how that turned out?)
When I got paged when the PostgreSQL server went down and I had no idea how to bring it back. (Luckily I eventually got a hold of someone who helped me out).
When I was let go from Sourceforge. (Almost lasted there two years).
When I took a plane to meet my new boss. (And had to drive a rental car).
When I learned Python for my new job. (That was the best part of the job. That and watching a shit-ton of The Daily Show).
When I did my first presentation for MUG. (I did many more after that).
When I set up my own Linode VPS and mail server. (Eep!)
When JoDee's dad passed away. (More for breaking the speed of light to get to her to console her).
When I donated my video game collection. (Haven't missed it yet).
When I was laid off for over a year. (Insert witty saying here).
When I felt like I was unhireable. (Fortunately my friend helped me out).
When I severely under-estimated the amount of work for a Django project. (Never ask me how long it will take, because we'll both be wrong).
When the pandemic happened. (Though one of our shoppers was wearing a gas mask and having fun with it).
When I became the head of gaming programming during Penguicon 2021. (I shook all the trees.)
When one of my childhood heroes accepted as one of the guests of honor for Penguicon 2021. (OMG! OMG! OMG! Tee hee!).
When I sat in on a lecture with my childhood hero. (It was about paradigm shifts in the gaming industry; something we sorely need).
When I noticed blood in my stool. (Sure it wasn't food-dye?).
When I got the cancer diagnosis. ("You don't look like you have cancer.")
When I went in for all of my scans. (MRIs have a nice beat but they don't let you dance to it).
When I was told I had chemo the next day. (You mean tomorrow as in tomorrow tomorrow, right?)
When I was told the Zarxio shots had to go in really slow. (Just close your eyes and think of England).
When we got COVID. (It's like a cold but worse).
When I was told I might go in for surgery. (yeeeeah, no).
When I went in for radiation. (But I got some snazzy tattoos).
When I presented Hearsay, an engine building on the work of my childhood hero's 30+ years of work. (It's called "Hearsay" because it's my interpretation of that, and isn't 100% accurate).
When I had to tell everyone that I work with that I'm "retiring". (Hey, that's almost in the present, isn't it?)
I've been afraid for just about every significant event of my life. And in each moment I became stronger for it. I've been practicing with being with my fear a lot these past few years. I'm not sure what the future holds but that practice has allowed me to make space for what the benefits might be. There will likely be setbacks, struggles, and god-knows-what-else, but I've had a lifetime of fear and I'm still here. Nothing's going to stop me now.
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