Path of Life

Growing up my daddy was a farmer and my mother was a momma. That is what they choose to do with their lives, their career. What a person chooses to do with their life is an important part of who they are. Every child dreams of what they will become when they are “grown-up.” I wanted to be a motorcycle police officer in the California Highway Patrol. This was because my favorite TV show was CHiP’s and I loved Ponch and Jon! We are influenced in many different ways on what we will become when we grow up.

There are rewards and benefits to what a person does with their life. Some people define this as a job, work, career, or profession. But I think these words are a poor definition of what you do with your life. For example, job is defined as a piece of work, especially a specific task done as part of the routine of ones occupation for an agreed price. Doing something for an “agreed price” does not sound like fun or enjoyable. Yes, there are rewards and benefits to what a person does with their life. Commonly we think of these rewards and benefits as a salary or wage. Do you do what you do because of money or because of love?

Many motivational speakers, self-help guides, and career coaches give keys to success in the work place or layout plans on how to better enjoy your job. But that is talking about your career and job. Yuck!!! They make it sound like a mathematical equation that can be solved rather than the scientific process that more appropriately defines life’s journey. Is the road to success a mathematical formula to get the most cash out of your job? Look at Wall Street currently, do you think those CEOs are happy even with the millions in their personal bank accounts?

Look at my parents, one was a farmer and the other a mother. Cash wasn’t the only reward. Each season brought pride and joy to my dad. Each season had its toil and heartache. If my father did it just for the cash it might not have been worth the labor, the fluctuating crop prices, dealing with chemicals and their sales reps. I don’t think a pile of cash makes the handwork, sweat, toil, or sorrow worth it all! That is in the eyes of whoever is holding the bag of cash.

Even though I wanted to be a motorcycle cop in California I turned out to be a space geek in Alabama. There is no four year college program to become a space geek nor is there an apprenticeship for this field of work. The path to being a space geek is not clearly defined on but it is an actual profession. To a doctor, lawyer, teacher, fighter pilot, or veterinarian they may think I am making this space geek thing up. But it is what makes me happy. And isn’t that what you want to do with your life? Rather than finding a J O B shouldn’t we find what makes us happy in life?

Success is defined in many different ways to many different people and I am not about to give you a quote from the great big book of success. But success is finding happiness along the path of life. Success or accomplishment is finding people to enjoy your life with a mate, friends, or family and being excited each day of your life from wake up to shut down. Balancing work and play is the key but enjoying the two is what makes life remarkable!

So look around you, are you at work? Are you at home and are you happy? Do you have just a J O B that gives you an agreed price for your grief and heartache or do you have something that you do that gives you more back than just a pile of cash. The rewards and benefits of being a space geek are enormous. I get to work with wonderful people, travel to fantastic places, and learn fascinating space stories. But one of the largest benefits is where I work. I have a Space Shuttle outside my office window during the winter months and I work in a rail car surrounded by aircraft and a lake in the summer months.

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