I believe that periods of people’s lives are made up of pieces of puzzles meant to be solved to create a bigger picture. Each of these puzzles pieces has a story, and those involved were catalysts for getting each particular person through said time period. I know that getting to this time period wasn’t just by myself, after all, I read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and I fit one of the profiles (I think I’ve had over 10,000 hours working on the computer learning code and designing). Each experience I’ve had got me to where I am today, my story wasn’t meant to have been written this way. In another dimension, I may have lived on another continent or still lived in Dominica. None of those are bad, I mean, those experiences could have possibly been great also but at this moment, from where I’m jotting these notes on my iPad, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Before I go off on tangents, I’d like to note that I don’t usually write about specific people highlighting them by entire entries on my blog. I highlighted my friend, Gardenia, quite awhile ago and I still believe that she’s an amazing person. I made the right judgement of considering her a friend and I wanted people who read this continuing autobiographical digital recollection of mine to know that she was important. Trust is important to me because I don’t trust easily. I seldom consider women as friends (now you know) but, I feel like I can trust her and a handful of others and that’s pretty huge—considering. When you meet people who want you to succeed with no ulterior motives, you should appreciate them. My lifestyle has been sporadic but I still value all those memories, and experiences she shared with me. Gardenia is creative, talented, bold, driven and embraces life like no other person I’ve met before. I feel like I aspire to be just as driven.
Now, another person I’d like to highlight, who I’ve mentioned before is John Boyd.
John’s an interesting character (and this is entirely based on my point of view from my experiences with him). I’ve always felt challenged when I had a conversation with him. My first employment was with him and he took me under his wing. I often wondered why he found me intelligent at all but, communicating with him made me aspire to be as brilliant as I could possibly be. Now after reading Steve Job’s autobiography (if you read it you’d get this next point) I wondered if John was using the smoke screen concept that Steve used with his employees. However, he often repeated: “If Bill Gates can do it, you can do it.” Funny that now I just see Gates as a someone involved in a company that pretty much rips off other companies (many companies do this).
However, his approach was to succeed at tasks such as morphing illustrated children story characters into candlesticks with now obsolete imaging software that has made me feel like I can tackle problem.
Here’s a few other John points that altered my life:
John thought that if he paid me to learn he would benefit from it. My first programming language was PERL when I started working with him. I had spent much of my previous years discovering pedophiles in yahoo java chat rooms and learning about HTML by search engine since google wasn’t available yet. I was also knowledgable at using Macromedia Dreamweaver and Flash 2. Sometimes I used Netscape Composer and Frontpage Express (the web had low standards back then). Then we stumbled upon PHP. Coming to work after awhile wasn’t about the money but because I was exposed to a faster connection, lots of literature and I had the passion to learn.
John believes that you’re not too old to learn. When I started working with John at the age of 14, we journeyed together in the abyss of the www by learning languages as we go. I was fascinated by how educated he was and thought he could do everything (because he learned to do them as he went along, I do the same today). I think all you need is the drive to tackle anything and you can.
John told me that it was ok to be selfish. At age 14, I felt like the world was on my shoulders to impress my peers and parents…To survive, to succeed, to get out of the Caribbean. If John hadn’t told me it was ok to be selfish and take care of myself first in other to help others, I may have lost the person I am today. I’m selfish with my happiness and always will be. This is how I survive.
John found it quite alright to challenge everything. I spent some time trying to hack into the security holes in websites back in the late 90s. It was a little hobby of mine where I emailed the company and told them where their sites weren’t secured. John always challenged everything from technology to politics.
John told me it was important to invest in myself. I hadn’t figured out my plan for college during my final years of high-school and he made me believe in investing in myself even if I had to take out loans for college. It was a great investment in my self worth and future (even if I have to pay it all back). He and his late wife, Dolores, took me to the U. S. and introduced me to art and history. I am forever indebted by this experience because I can appreciate works from Picasso to Rodin.
John called me a polymath a few years into my career. I always wondered why I couldn’t stay focused on one hobby just like most of my peers. He made me feel like mastering each interest and moving on was healthy. Or, maybe it’s just ADHD haha.
I hope I’m making him proud because John bought me my first domain (Jadersworld) where I started blogging before blogging was a term. Now as I blog this on jerlynthomas, I hope he realizes how significant he was and still is in my life.