One of the most interesting things about the Foundation series of novels by Issac Asimov is the idea that a certain type of crisis arises when both internal and external influences combine to leave only one possible correct course of action.

I had a revelation today. About my career, which has been practically non-existent for most of 2000, contributing to a lot of personal unhappiness. Being gifted with both the ability to understand computers as well as people has opened a lot of doors, made me a little bit of money, and a bit of happiness and pride here and there, but being a geek has never been something I really wanted to be. Even though it's been part and parcel of every job I've ever had.

Always in my career (and the attendant social contacts/friends I've gained from said career) I've felt on the outside, looking in. It's a large portion of why the word "wolf" is a part of my online identity. A wolf, to me, is the perfect symbol of a loner who needs a pack to survive. That resonates within me.

When I was eighteen, I was rudderless. I had to deal with a trio of crises at once, namely coming out of the closet, dealing with the extreme paranoia, hatred, and fear that AIDS caused in the early 80s (both in gay and straight culture), and trying to answer the question, "What do I want to be when I grow up?".

I never really resolved the crisis represented by that question.

I did three things tonight to begin resolving it at long last. The first was a long heartfelt conversation with my very best friend. The second was the beginning of a very long and analytical writeup that is the largest writing project I've ever attempted. The third was a personal review of the things I've added to everything so far.

All three of these activities pointed to one, and only one, irrefutable fact about who I am. I am ... an observer of humanity. I enjoy being the outsider, because it allows me to see both the forest and the trees. I also know that I can share these observations in a manner that at least some people can appreciate, enjoy, and use to enrich their own lives ... but not my own.

So, how best to put this abiding love of humanity to use that will benefit me as well, in all facets of my life? As in the Foundation books, there's only one correct path of action.

At the age of thirty five, I'm going to go back to college.

To study sociology.

The ironic footnote to this day of self-discovery is the recollection of a conversation between myself and my mother that took place when I was 20. I had dropped out of college, and my mom kept telling me, truthfully, that I didn't know what I wanted to learn, which is why I failed to complete my education. At that time she strongly suggested I consider becoming a sociologist.

Of course, I didn't listen to her. In fact, I couldn't fathom why she would think I'd want to enter such a ridiculous profession.

Mother always knows best.