March 11th, 2009 by Bob Bly
I?ve never been happy with who I am.
In fact, I feel quite guilty about it.
Let me explain?.
I?m a bookworm ? a bibliophile ? a ?bookaholic.?
I am most content and fulfilled when I am sitting alone in my office, clicking away at the keyboard — writing copy for my clients or my own Internet marketing business ? or articles and books for my publishers.
When I get home from a typical 12-hour day at the PC, I want nothing more than to sit on the couch — and read a book.
I don?t play sports ? or watch it on TV. No golf ? no tennis ? no bridge.
I don?t garden ? or do handyman stuff around the house ? or have any discernible hobby ? other than reading.
I love my kids, and enjoy spending time with my family ? but I never voluntarily socialize with friends or relatives unless my wife pushes me to do so.
It seems to me that this makes me a narrow, limited person ? hence the guilt and shame.
?It?s not that I don?t like people,? writes NPR?s book critic Maureen Corrigan. ?It?s just that when I?m in the company of others ? even my nearest and dearest ? there always comes a moment when I?d rather be reading a book.?
As a bookaholic, I?ve developed another trait many consider odd: my preference for bad weather.
Gray, cold, rainy days make me happy.
While warm, cloudless days with sunshine make me depressed.
Because when it?s cold and gray, I can stay inside ? and read or write.
But when it?s a nice day, I?m expected to participate in outdoor activities that I enjoy far less.
?My favorite kind of day is a cold, dreary, gusty, sleety day, when I can sit at my typewriter or word processor in peace and security,? wrote the late Isaac Asimov.
?A perfect day fills me with the nameless dread (usually fulfilled) that Robyn [Asimov?s daughter] will come to me, clapping her little hands in excitement, and say, ?Let?s take a walk in the park. I want to go to the zoo.?
?Of course, I go, because I love her, but I tell you I leave my heart behind, stuck in the typewriter keys.?
At this point in my life, I?ve spent over half a century feeling guilty over who I am ? a prolific workaholic writer — what I like, and what I want to do: spend my life with words, information, and ideas.
Have you, like me, ever felt that you were letting people down by not being the type of person you think others expect you to be?
Well, I?m going to suggest that you join me now ? and together, we let go of our guilt.
Let?s embrace who we are, rather than reject it.
In the original ?Nutty Professor? movie, Jerry Lewis says: ?If you don?t love yourself, how do you expect others to??
?Be a real person,? advises my friend, Internet marketing guru Fred Gleeck. ?People are sick of phonies. Be who you really are and don’t worry if some people don’t like you. For those who don’t, there are plenty who will LOVE you for being yourself.?
Listen: I don?t know why I am so addicted to books and the printed word.
I just can?t help it. Nothing comes close to engaging my admittedly limited intellect the way writing does.
But now, I don?t care ? or feel bad about it ? any more.
That?s the way I am, and after 50 years of living, now I am at peace with it.
I hope you can be at peace with who — and what — you are, as well.
Because ? to quote Vince Vaughn in ?Dodgeball? ? you?re perfect just the way you are.