I am a writer who elevates jargon into plain language. This is one facet of an identity that can be imagined as a geode. Imagine a stone that has been broken open to reveal aquamarine crystals – flat, complex, light-reflecting, light-bending, light-enhancing surfaces.
Let’s think of identity as a geode with many facets. Like the multi-faceted geode interior, my identity is a combination of skills, heart, curiosity, work ethic, enjoyment of learning, and enjoyment of language. The same set of facet-like attributes, expressed and combined differently, exposed differently to light, might produce an identity of teacher, painter, pianist, gardener, or others.
Sometimes the light shines through a “writer” facet of the geode. The crystal facets once reflected light into the information systems world. Then I entered into a more important world – the world of real people who are vulnerable because of age or other attributes – extremely young age (beginning with the “light switch” change of venues when our son was born two decades ago), or more advanced ages, experienced through the rediscovered interdependence among the generations in my family during the past decade.
The light has shined simultaneously through the “writer” facet of the geode, and “leader” facet of the geode, in groups oriented around the systems world, diverse community projects, parenting, community organizations, and family transitions.
Thirty years ago the light dimmed a bit through the “writer” facet of the geode when I was laid off from a job I did well. I saw that professional writers and educators were among “the first” to lose their jobs in a recession. So I began polishing an “expert” facet of the geode. I came to value the “expert” facet of the geode more than the “writer” facet of the geode. I adopted the measuring tools of “the marketplace” to value different facets of the geode. I became very comfortable as a well- informed practitioner in the world of systems planning and database design. I never wrote a line of software code to make my living; I wrote and spoke everything except the code – repeatable methods for system development, plans, materials, requirements, specifications, and more. The light shining through the communication facet of the geode pointed toward and brightened the expertise facet of the geode, rather than shining independently into the world. I kind of forgot that I had my own measuring system to value and polish the “writer” facet of the geode. I forgot that I might move the geode around a bit to see what happened when the light shone through different facets of the geode of my identity, more or less.
Recent encounters and engagements, and the response to them, have reminded me that a unique facet of my identity is…. a writer who can elevate any jargon into plain language, right now on subjects that affect the quality of life of vulnerable people. Our complex world has expanding needs for that identity. I feel as though the recent engagements have invited me to see the geode as positioned in three dimensions, gyroscope-like, so that the light can reflect more or less on and through different facets at different times.
And I discover, to my surprise, that life is enlightened, life-giving and energized when I claim that reality.