I feel old.
As I staggered up the stairs last Monday, luggage on my back, I looked and round at a room full of young people. I haven't been so crass as to directly ask, but I immediately sure that there is a full generation between the people that I was looking at and myself. Many of them are far closer in age to my sons than to me.
I feel welcome.
Everybody smiled at me, even if my arrival interrupted whatever they were doing, and quite a few folk that first few minutes weren't sure who who I was, but were still welcoming. Everybody is very helpful, nowhere is out of bounds.
I feel valued.
Almost immediately, my opinion was being asked, used and acted upon. I've helped choose contest winners, and been part of the development process for the future of the site (interesting!). I have been included in everything. I have not been punched by a member of the dev team.
I feel trusted.
I have a key to the office hanging on my belt, and I know where the coffee is.
I feel ignorant.
These people, these young people, know so much more than I do about the high end of Making. But, they're also keen to teach - I have had lots of offers for help to learn. As a teacher, that feels weird, weirdly good...
I feel happy.
The walk from my apartment to the main office takes about 50 minutes, and goes through a somewhat dodgy area of the city, but every day I smile the full way, even singing and whistling. The bus-ride back (it's up-hill - I may be happy, but I'm not daft) is crowded and sweaty, but I am still smiling, and still ready to sing (but quietly). I've never been like that on a commute.
I feel productive.
I've only published two small projects this week, but I have two larger projects in development that will involve staff, and a bunch of other things to make as well. It's really useful that conversations with staff go along the lines of "Can I have a...? Yes"
Basically, all this adds up to this being a really good experience. It is by no means a free ride (thank goodness for credit cards!) - if you're young and single you could do this for a lot less than I have, but I could not get away with spending a month in California without bringing the family along.
If you ever, ever get the chance to do this, or something similar, then grab it with both hands!