Today is my 29th birthday. I am in Paris on a business trip and have invited all my Parisian friends to celebrate the event with me in a bar that I have rented for the occasion. I have just started my new job managing research programs on Climate Change for a Research Institute. More recently, I was doing Corporate Development (acquiring technology and buying companies) for a large software company. I have made this radical career change because I want to make more of a difference in the world, and I feel that Global Warming is a pressing problem that needs addressing. I know that, no matter how much I also liked my other job, I will feel more fulfilled working for the environment than working for a company that sells enterprise software… I feel that I have just made a bold life and career change, and I know that there will be no going back, as the Global Warming problem is there to stay and increase in the years to come… I know that more and more people will also come to work on trying to solve that daunting problem facing humanity.
I am single, have had several relationships that lasted a few months at most… I have not met "the right guy" yet. But I have many friends on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, and it feels like family… I grew up in France, went to MIT for a couple of years, then moved to the San Francisco Bay area 4 years ago. I saw with amusement (and took part in) the "rise and fall" of the internet bubble, what a crazy time it was!
I don’t have a spiritual life. In fact, I don’t really know what that means. As I was reflecting on life/career goals at the end of my time at MIT, I know I wrote down that I wanted to "develop my spiritual life". Yet, I wouldn’t know where to start! Not with Christianity I suppose (I grew up a Catholic and was fairly interested in these questions as a child, but, like many people, bumped into some of the rigidities of the dogma, and gave up). "Spiritual" books? The closest I have come to spiritual books are some popular self-help books I’ve read, and which have greatly helped me with personal issues, such as Scott Peck’s Road Less Traveled or Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
My personal philosophy is that "we are all One". I seem to have always visualized humanity as a big common root, and every human as a little plant stemming from that root. Seen from above the ground, you see all the little, separated plants, but seen from under the ground, you see this huge common root…
One of the important corollaries of that philosophy is that I have never felt jealous of another human being. I realize that every plant is there to "push the envelope", to explore the space around itself, wherever it finds itself to be, e.g. someone will become a ballet dancer, or a physician, or a top model, etc. I have never wanted to be someone else than who I was, as I have always felt very deeply that "they are me and I am them", i.e. that we are all One. I shared that philosophy with a friend one day, and he told me: "Your philosophy is like that of the Dalai Lama".
One of my main qualities is "intellectual honesty", which I would rather label an insatiable drive towards knowing. Acquiring knowledge, synthesizing knowledge, and sharing knowledge seem to have emerged as my key talents in my professional life. My last boss, when I quit, told me: "You are a Renaissance person". What a compliment! I see my recent career move as a move towards the Truth: I know (from the time when I was researching the subject at MIT) that the Earth is warming up due to rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, so, instead of digging my head in the sand like an ostrich, I want to work at uncovering more knowledge about it, and spreading that knowledge wherever it needs to go.
But for now, time to dance and celebrate!