Bio in Brief: My name is AJ, and I’m a walking contradiction. I’m an introverted entrepreneur; a liberal country boy; a rural Renaissance man. I love my wife, dogs, the Chicago Cubs, good wine and bad food.
Bio (the Long Form): I’ve always been a square peg in a round hole. I was born in the south but my parents were Yankees. I grew up in a rural setting but shared little of the interests of my neighbors; while my friends were hunting and fishing, I preferred to have my nose in a book. I grew up in the Bible Belt but my family never went to church. Politically, I’m a liberal in a conservative state. I’m always searching for the perfect wine pairing for pork barbecue. This list could go on forever. I’ve never quite fit in anywhere, but frankly I’ve never minded that fact. I’ve always been something of an oddball, I just learned to enjoy it.
As a kid my only ambition was to go to the University of North Carolina. I had the grades to get in but my family was poor, so the real obstacle was money. When I arrived in Chapel Hill in the early 80s, I had an acceptance letter, $400 I had saved, no car, no place to live. Graduated four years later, the best years of my life. Unfortunately, when you achieve your life’s goal at 23, you realize you may have set your ambitions just a little too low.
Work and Travel
After college, I knocked around for a few years, fell into a technical career (I have a natural affinity for it, a side effect of the “geek” gene). While working as a programmer for huge global project, my company wanted to send me to Ireland for business. Being the country rube that I am, I had no desire to leave the good ‘ol US of A, so I fought it tooth and nail. Eventually they made me go, but once I landed in Dublin, the land of Guinness and pubs, I knew I had stumbled on another personal contradiction: a redneck who loves to travel.
For the last 12 years or so I have been working at a company I co-founded, working with my partners to run a successful consulting and professional services business. My job is rewarding but also very challenging and stressful. Another, less beneficial, aspect of the geek gene is social anxiety coupled with being a strong introvert. I must constantly battle my anxiety demons to do my job, and it has been a lifelong struggle.
A Meandering Mind
I called my blog “A Meandering Mind” because it matches how my life has progressed and how I live today. Historically, things have gone in different directions from what I have expected with interests very different from those around me. I have a love of travel, exploring and learning, but I struggle through simple things like parties and social events. I have “meandered” my way through life, but I wouldn’t change a single thing. While I will never claim to be a great writer, I’ve never let lack of talent stop me from trying anything.
As I have a day job, I don’t have a strong wish to monetize this site. I may do a little affiliate stuff to see how it works, but if I can make enough to cover the hosting fees, I’d be happy (and pretty damned surprised!). This is really just a fun experiment. I doubt I will ever have a newsletter, email list or anything like that. Social media will be the limited ones I use and support regularly.
At the end of the day, I really want to share what meager information and insight I have gleaned through life, improve my writing skills, learn something new, and enjoy the process.