Different Yet the Same

March 12, 2003

Last night my sweetheart and I talked about our different approaches to using computers. I am a born geek who lives and breathes technology. I am willing to experiment with new software and hardware just to see what it does, and I expect and welcome the challenge when I "break" something along the way. Michele wants her computer to enable her creativity and to provide the means to accomplish her goals in life. At times I hear a simple request and make it a arduous ordeal of trial and error. I enjoy the search for answers and solutions to problems. She just wants to copy VHS tapes to DVD.

This causes friction between us and, to our great credit, we sit down and talk it out. One of our greatest strengths as a couple is that we have differences and we acknowledge them. Knowing that she views computers and the role they play in her life differently than I, helps me to see them from a new perspective. I have learned a great deal about how the rest of the world views computers thanks to her patience with me. Michele's passion is in truth seeking, and social/political issues. Just as I have learned more about computers from the difference in our use of them, I know she has gained new understandings due to the differences in our approach to social and political issues. At one level we are the same: we have areas of great passion in our lives that excite and invigorate us; while at another level we are quite different: our areas are diverse and sometimes not shared at all.

In our discussion last night I saw more clearly than ever that she has a subset of my computing experience, and that she has less tolerance for incompleteness or difficulty. Knowing this allows me to take care of myself without trying to make her do it my way. Instead of trying to help (force?) her to have the same experience I have, now I can relax and enjoy her experience because I know it is what she desires. I see her knowledge and experience growing all the time, and I know that when she wants assistance that she'll turn to me. That feels good, and it allows me to celebrate her enjoyment of computers without needing to make like my experience.

She, in turn, sees my growing social consciousness and political awareness as different from her own experience. She is there as a sounding board for me, and she has enriched my life by opening me up to these pursuits. I know that she celebrates my enjoyment of truth seeking and social understanding without needing to make it exactly like her experience.

Together we are learning new ways to grow and experience life. Michele has given me new insight in to my passions and interests. And she has opened my eyes to a whole new world of social and political interests. I believe that I have been able to give her new insights into her passions, and I believe that I have enriched her experience with my passions.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.