Identity and perception

Yesterday seemed to be a day of pointing out character traits. In no less than 3 conversations, my own particular way of interacting with the world was brought up. What surprised me was that none of them revolved around creativity or attention deficit disorder or multi-tasking. Nothing about the Aquarian outlook. Not a word that mentioned Myers Briggs or ENFP.

Nope! Instead:

  • One friend surprised me by declaring, "You're much more left brained than I am." Then explained her assertion with some well-thought-out examples.
  • Another sent an email around with a puzzle in it, for a handful of us to take a gander at. She wrote, "I thought of the five of you b/c you’re the most analytical peeps I know who would be up for the challenge!"
  • And not two hours after that, another friend, who is a hard-core scientist who knows things about the universe that I couldn't keep in my head if I immersed myself in books and lectures and classes for ten years. During the conversation, he declared, "You and I think about a lot of things in the same way." I think that's what he said, anyway. It surprised me so much for a second (but only for a second because then I realized he was right,) that he could have said, "The way we look at things is very similar." Or perhaps it was, "We process things the same way, very often."

Maybe these little boxes we put ourselves into need to be opened up a little more frequently, eh? And upon reflection, I guess the theme that runs through all 3 of these assertions is true. Which made it possible for me to:

  • so thoroughly enjoy studying photography and working in a darkroom for hours on end, adjusting controls on an enlarger, considering reciprocal values which allowed me to get the contrast of a photo just right, back in college,
  • and get addicted (until something else distracted me 3 weeks later, that is) to Sudoku puzzles last spring when I spent 2 weeks in Seattle and Rhi taught me how to do them.
  • Also, although I'm not a musician, my mom is. And after years of piano lessons and living in a household that virtually revolved around creating music, I get the way music is made. I sort of read it (sometimes I forget which note starts on a line or on a space, but I can always quick get myself back to middle C and go from there,) and would be able to sit down at a piano with a sheet of music I've never seen, and pick out the tune with my fingers. I'm told that's a skill that's lumped with scientific and mathematical processing. Which tends to surprise me, but maybe it shouldn't.

The thought that comes to mind most strongly this morning is that if we limit ourselves too closely by thinking we're only good at certain kinds of things, we may fail to try other things at which we might excel. Perhaps things we'd very much enjoy.

The other thought that comes to mind is that now that finally some of the lessons people have casually thought to pass along to me over the years about shooting pool made sense in a new way last week, maybe with much, much practice one day I'll actually excel at that sport. (Is shooting pool a sport?) Which would be very much cool!