I'm Thankful For...
I had another posting in the hopper, which I'll finish later, but I went to church this evening, and Pastor said something (specifics now vague) that made me realize that I needed to write this.
I'll try to put this as straightforwardly as possible, but it really is true: I'm grateful to God for the fact that I have managed to live all of the biggest dreams I had when I was a kid. Really. I had a lot of dreams as a kid, as do most of us, some of which are unlikely to happen (I'm still waiting on that life-size, working Millennium Falcon), but the ones that were serious to me--the ones that kept me going when I was dodging bullies and trying to not get a wedgie in the locker room--those stayed with me, and were wondrously fulfilled.
- I wanted to work at Disney World. Not all of it was good--in fact, at least one of those jobs was so bad, I told a friend that I'd see myself in Hell before I ever did it again--but I made and have held onto some great friends who helped me grow up into the world of work. I checked that box for 12 years, and lived in what was, for me, the greatest weather on Earth.
- I wanted to be in the Army. Okay, I had to fudge this one, because the Army wouldn't take me for medical reasons (taking daily medication for thyroid problems, if you must know). However, I wrote proposals for a defense contractor for two years, and so got to help a company that was building fuel, water, add-on armor, power, and other necessary systems for soldiers in Iraq. Washington, DC, was not quite my town, but I learned a great deal, and had the privilege of working on important, serious things. Checked off that box between the ages of 34 and 36.
- I wanted to work in the space business. I got my first opportunity to write for the National Space Society when I got a call from the (now) late Chris Pancratz, Public Affairs Director on September 11, 2001. I was stuck in Nashville on a connection, freaking out over the state of the world, and this guy wanted me to write a presentation for NSS to "sell space to normal people." From there, I've gotten to do all sorts of advocacy papers and projects, and there I remain today. Through these activities, my incessant writing of letters to the editor regarding space, and some freelance writing for Space.com, I finally got a job with NASA in Huntsville, Alabama, where I've been blessed with good friends, a welcoming church, interesting and challenging work, and smart coworkers. I've checked that box every day for two and a half years now, and I don't regret a day of it.
I've know people who have jobs they don't like or who don't know what they want out of life or who never really figured out what they're good at. For good or ill, I've never had those latter two problems, and now live the career I wanted when I was too young to know what that career would entail. So I'm overweight, topped with grey hair, and don't have what you would call an existent dating life--so what? The winding path I've traveled has brought me to a place where I'm happy. For that I am truly thankful. May your journey be just as rewarding.