All the books I've been reading lately have been to do with self-improvement. Technical books (which is as much a hobby thing as it is work-related), philosophical books, financial independance books and the like. I think I'm trying to make up for the challenge and growth that's not happening at work. I'm way too young for a mid-life crisis. Maybe I'm just an early bloomer.
One area I could stand some improvement is social awareness. There are some social situations that have been developing around me lately to which I have been totally oblivious. Someone pointed one of these out to me today and I ended up figuratively slapping my forehead once it was stated. I have never been plugged in to the gossip undercurrents - times that I do note something and pass it on to my reliable sources (trying to show I'm somewhat with it), I get a comment to the effect of, "... and you're just seeing this now?"
A buddy was mentioning that those in the know should start a Clues-For-The-Clueless mailing list to keep us hapless souls from saying or doing inappropriate things as we deal with the more socially nimble. I'd subscribe to a list like that. I'd even be willing to hire a personal trainer to follow me around and make note of the barrage of social interaction that seems to be going on about a foot over my head - they could gently guide me towards interpersonal conciousness.
Then again, maybe it's just a guy thing.
I am planning to sit down with a good fictional novel during my upcoming vacation (I'm off to Vancouver Island for two weeks). I've had a novel recommended to me - it's called Larry's Party. It's about a guy who fumbles his way through life and ends up being quite successful, even though he doesn't mean to be. He just rolls with whatever comes his way, dabbling in things that interest him while this flurry of extraneous activity shapes his life. It could be a story all about me. I am not following some carefully laid out life map - I am much more the type that seizes the quick random opportunities that fall in front of me from out of the sky. I don't feel that life is prepackaged and predictable enough to follow a carefully conceived forty-year plan. People that get wound up in following a plan are missing out on adventures. It really is the adventures in your life that stand out, isn't it? It's through the adventures, through going beyond what you think you can do/handle/take that you grow and remember.
Keep that in mind next time someone comes up and plants some harebrained idea in your head that you should run away and join the circus. You might just learn something, hanging from your knees.