Meg just talked about the importance of saying yes. I wanted to build on that a bit.
I’m so lucky Meg and Brian said yes when I invited them to join Dynamic Ecology. Not just lucky in the sense of “it worked out great and I’m really thrilled about that,” but lucky in the sense of “it was a real longshot that I should not have expected to work”. I didn’t know Brian or Meg when I invited them, though I knew and admired their scientific work. I invited Meg at the suggestion of a mutual friend, on the grounds that because she was active on Twitter she’d probably want to blog as well. And I invited Brian because he wrote some great comments on the Oikos Blog, so I thought he might want to blog instead of just commenting. Looking back, I probably should’ve thought of these invitations as equivalent to lottery ticket purchases. The odds that a randomly-chosen ecologist will want to blog are very low, and contrary to what I believed at the time they’re not appreciably increased if said ecologist is active on Twitter or occasionally comments on other people’s blogs. As evidenced by the fact that there are many more Twitter users and blog commenters in the world than bloggers. I’ve been lucky my whole life; Meg and Brian saying yes was a particularly big piece of luck even for me.
And not just in the way I anticipated when I invited them. Honestly, at the time I was mostly just thinking that a group blog could post more often than a solo blog, and that it might be fun to blog with someone else. I wasn’t expecting to gain two new role models and two good friends.
Blogging for me has always been a way of playing to my strengths, or at least what I like to think of as my strengths. It’s a way for me to be me—have fun and indulge myself–while also hopefully making myself useful as a happy side effect. But seeing how Brian and especially Meg operate, online and offline, has impressed, humbled, and inspired me, and made me realize that my ambitions were a bit limited. That I don’t just have to be me, that I can be better than that—the best version of me, rather than some inferior version. I’ll never be Meg or Brian, of course, and that’s ok. As Meg said in her post, we don’t all need to say yes to everything, or to the same things. But I’m doing the best I can, which is all anyone can do. Even on the days when that isn’t very good, or doesn’t seem like it amounts to very much. I hope my best will get better. I know my best is better than it would’ve been if Meg and Brian hadn’t said yes.
Thanks to you both.