I was obsessed.
For some reason all throughout my childhood, I was obsessed with helmets. I think my first helmet was an old-school white and red bike helmet, which I wore around so often people thought I was epileptic. They frequently offered their sympathies to my mother. In elementary school I used $5.00 of my allowance to by my neighbors old Lazer Tag helmet at his parents yard sale. You could probably spend hours watching old family home videos that display my collection: blue, green, white, black, with visors, with voice changers…you name it, I had it.
Thinking back, I think this helmet craze came from (or lead to?) my first real opinion of what I wanted to be when I grew up: an astronaut. I wanted to blast off to into space. See the sun rise over earth. Land and walk on the moon. My bedroom had stars on the ceiling with planets and rocket ships covering the walls. I had models of the Space Shuttle and Lunar Module, as well as countless “space books”, lining my shelves. In short, I knew way more about space travel than a typical elementary school kid should.
So what happened?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m completely satisfied with where I am right now in life…but I’m just saying that I didn’t have books on mechanical engineering and HVAC design on my shelves. As I went through school, my path changed, and whether I was told that it was to hard or that it was an unrealistic dream…at some point the desire of becoming an astronaut had all but disappeared.
Now…I’m willing to bet that if I asked, you could tell me a very similar story about yourself. Unless of course, you are my wife, who has had a passion for teaching since third grade. She has an amazing gift of teaching and love of children that continues to blow me away…she just happen to discover it at a very young age.
So like I said: what happens to those dreams? Is it that we’re told that we aren’t good enough? What happens to that imagination and creativity that we all have as children?
Now, check this out.
I came across this last night while doing what most red-blooded young men do on Monday nights…watching football…and it completely blew my mind. For the cost of what some people pay for a new pair of kicks, a couple of college kids from MIT launched their own satellite using a weather ballon, styrofoam beer cooler, internet router antenna, cell phone, hand-warmers, and a used camera to take pictures of our planet from the edge of the stratosphere, after being told that it couldn’t be done…that it was just a crazy, hair-brained idea that could never work (read about the project here).
Well guess what? It worked, and the pictures are amazing!
So, like I said, mind-blowing. It most likely caught my attention because it had to do with outer-space (as opposed to inner-space??), but once I started reading, my mind really started going…remembering back to those childhood days…much like it would when watching a special on T.V. about anything space-related. So I get geeked about stuff like that, ok?
Also in my internet browsing last night, I saw that my friend Justin recently wrote that he read that Iceland was found to be the “happiest place on earth”. Caught slightly off-guard, I looked into it a little further and found that it was actually true…see for yourself here. Both the article and Justin do a great job of covering why Iceland is so happy, so I won’t go into that here…but to sum it, Icelanders aren’t afraid of failure or imperfection.
So maybe that is where our childhood dreams go by the way-side. We are told that our childhood dreams are simply that…dreams. We shouldn’t try to make a living being an artist, singer, or pro-ball player…we’d probably fail. We learn that we would should pursue something a little more obtainable and try to make a decently living from that.
“Conform to society, take that nine to five!” Office Space, anyone?
I know that this isn’t the typical format for this blog, but I’ve just had these things floating around in my mind and needed a place to spill…and this was as good as any. Maybe I was just tired of asking people on Monday mornings how they are doing and getting a sarcastic, monotone “Oh, just livin’ the dream” in return. And yes, after hearing it so much, sometimes I even say it too…
Anyway, like I said, I really do love what I do for a living, so that is not was this is about. Just…deep thoughts, by Tom Hardinge, I guess. I do think we all have God-given gifts and passions…and that I think it’s high time that we start spending more time pursuing those rather than working 50-60+ hours a week. So…find a hobby! Learn to plan an instrument! Launch a homemade satellite to take pictures of earth from the edge of the stratosphere (just…be sure to contact the FAA before lauching said satellite).
I know these ideas are hardly new and have been brought up many times before by others…it’s just that reading these articles really got me thinking, and I wanted a change of pace around here. Oh, and I really wanted to give props to those MIT guys! Anyway, I’d like to know what your thoughts are. Do you agree? Disagree? What did you want to be when you were growing up? Please, let me know here!