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Life

July 10, 2010

I spend a lot of time climbing on top of oceanographic equipment out here. It makes me nervous every time – maybe this time I’ll lose my footing and fall overboard or maybe this time there will be a rogue wave which will knock me off balance. However, so far, I’ve survived.

I’ve always felt that it’s important to do things that scare or intimidate me. That’s why I did Outward Bound – I loved the whole concept of pushing myself as far as I could go and then taking three more steps. That’s why I played rugby even though I was always scared to tackle people. That challenge is what kept me emotionally invested. I took this job because I felt the same way about it. It was scary to move across country and work on a ship with no clear future in front of me. I liked that.

But then I got here and I didn’t feel challenged. As a result, I’m not very emotionally invested. It’s starting to get annoying that I don’t really know what I’ll be doing next after I get off this ship.

It’s kind of like Penelope Trunk’s recent blog post about leading an interesting vs. happy life. I had almost this exact conversation with my sister before I took this job. I felt like I was missing out on life because I’ve never moved out and lived on my own. Instead, I’ve lived at home every summer and in the dorm while in school. I was struggling to decide where to work (well-paying engineering job near home vs. exciting technician job on other side of the country) because I was caught up in that interesting vs. happy dilemma. As I explained to my sister, of course I would be happy at home – I’ve been happy at home every summer. But I wanted to do the interesting thing – because it sounded impressive and cool. But, as Penelope explores in previous blog posts, interesting doesn’t always include happy. Interesting means your life is constantly changing whereas stability is what makes me happy.

The more I think about it, the more I think I really want to go into academia. I want to explore interesting ideas and solve big problems. I want to be an expert. I want to write a book. I still want to sail around the world with my mom.

But mostly, I don’t want to cock bottles on the CTD anymore.

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  1. Life Plan « radengineer

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