Sometimes is difficult to define what I am. It’s not the same question as who I am, that is a much more internal and personal reflection of my current place in the universe. What I am denotes more of the role I play in life. I am currently both a student and a teacher, but I also still write news from time to time, so I guess I am a journalist as well. I am and have always been a son, and for about 25 years I have been a father. And although much of that plays a key part in defining who I am, it is not necessarily what I do that makes me who I am. Who I am is determined much more by how I do what I do and my performance has varied from absolutely miserable to excellent, often at the same time.
We all have many roles to play at any given period in our lives. Some are persistent while others are fleeting, but the belief that a given role is static and singular is false. “What” I am is always many things. I am dynamic, evolving and always learning – we all are. And although I am, at present, formally both a student and a teacher, it is also true that as human beings, we are all always those things. Always. I have also been, in no particular order: a businessman; an entrepreneur; a patient; a Little Leaguer, a Boy Scout, a trombone player and a member of my high school marching band; an owner of many vehicles; an inmate; a college drop-out and a university graduate; and many more things I cannot immediately recall (some, perhaps, by choice). I am also a friend, a son, a father and a grandfather – things that I am particularly proud to be.
And for more than four years now, I am a blogger. When I started this project in December 2005, I had no idea that I would still be doing it four-plus years and almost 500 posts later. It is not only one of the things that describe what I do, but it is also an important element in making me who I am. My blog is a mirror. It is a visual and public assessment of where I am in life and what it all means. There are never any clear answers, but awareness has proven to be key; optimism written takes on a concreteness that, for me, is self-fulfilling. Writing it out and giving it to the universe is not only cathartic, it becomes, in some sense, real. I write often and for many different purposes in many different formats for vastly different audiences. What I write here is all me; it’s free and unrestricted (from external sources)… and it is for anyone who wants to read it.
I am currently doing some research into online ethics. Because the Internet is still relatively new and the advent and proliferation of broadband is even newer, this is consequently a new area of research. But it’s not really all that new. Ethics, etiquette, and morality… these things have been part of the human experience ever since we acquired to ability to communicate symbolically. Although the intricacies and nuances of online communication have created challenges as to what people are able to get away with online, it hasn’t changed the intuitive and inherent feeling in most people of what constitutes right and wrong. Hacking, viruses, identity theft, malware and the like are just technological iterations from those who are predisposed to do wrong anyway – I don’t believe opportunity by way of anonymity turns a good person bad.
In my vast virtual community, I have relationships with those who are either openly anonymous or possibly hiding behind a false persona. The age of information allows us to connect with people we might never meet, and I have many such connections. But all of these associations are built upon the same qualities I seek in my “traditional” relationships - a level of decency and humanity that is consistent with my own. I know who I am and I know what is right and wrong, my friends, online or not, shared those qualities. That is what ethics and morality has always been based upon. It’s what makes me who I am - no matter what I am.