I love science. I come from a family of scientists, so this really isn’t a big surprise. My dad, though working as a construction manager, has a degree in Aero-Space Engineering. A great number of my aunts and uncles are also rocket scientists, physicists, astronomers, and computer program managers. My own sister is even a mathematician. Seriously. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an engineer at NASA just like my Aunt Mary. (Also, a secret agent-photographer- writer- ballet dancer-actor-artist-astronaut-fighter pilot-marine biologist-chemist-cashier, but that’s another blog post). When I was a teenager, I interned at NASA, went to Experimental Aircraft Association workshops, and had posters of the F-15 Eagle & SR-71 Blackbird on my wall. I mean, look at these beautiful planes – how could you not want these hanging over your bed?
I actually wanted to be a fighter pilot. (One of my grandfathers flew secret missions during & after WWII -maybe it’s in my blood). My eyesight being as god-awful as it is, though, I knew they’d never let my fly, so I briefly entertained the idea of being an airplane mechanic. That way I could at least work on those beauties. Then I realized that since I had a slight *ahem* problem with authority (and early wake-up times) the military wasn’t the place for me. My dad suggested that I design the planes instead of fly them. He really had hoped that I would become an engineer. Instead, I thought I’d “learn his lesson”, and follow a different path. One where I wouldn’t be stuck behind a desk. One where I could answer the question “what if?” You see, my dad also has another love: music; and my mom is quite an artist, and neither of them pursued these as a career. As a kid, I thought this was a crying shame – especially since my dad didn’t end up getting to be an engineer, anyway (yet another story for a different post.) So, I decided to go into the arts & follow the path less chosen.
Well, the good news is that I have a beautiful, relatively stress-free life. I get to stay home and raise my children. I have a fantastic husband. I ended up in two bands, and get to play music. How perfect is that? My life is so full. And yet, I can’t help but wonder what the hell I’ve done with it. In trying to avoid ever having to ask myself “what if?”, I’ve found myself asking that very same question – and worse answering with: “I should have.”
Ok. I know that people hate a whiner, and no one likes to hear about regrets – and lately, I seem to have a growing list of them. I know that when you have more than one option, “what if?” is an unavoidable question. I know my life is beautiful and damned near perfect. I know these things. I know them, but still can’t help but ask myself the question “what the hell have you done with your life?” This question frightens me when I realize that I’m past the age when I can call this state of mind a “quarter life crisis.” The question frightens me even more when I realize that the answer is that I have done nothing that I had hoped. I do have music, and I cling to that the way a drowning man would a piece of driftwood. I am grateful for that, and most of the time it, along with the playful cacophony of my children, is enough to drive these sorts of questions from my mind, and leave me in a state of grateful bliss. But maybe I should be glad of the self doubt and disappointment in myself. Maybe it will motivate me to make more of myself – to do more or be more. The Muffin & Noodle are obsessed with Lego Ninjago, and keep talking of “reaching (their) true potential” (albeit fictional Lego Ninja style complete with ice or tornado powers). Maybe the self doubt is enough to help me reach my “true potential”. Maybe “someone” is trying to get through to me to reach past my comfortable life and do something more. I just wish I knew what that was …