Monday, August 16, 2010

Alternate realities

I remember particularly when I was a graduate student and being perplexed by stories I would hear about professionals giving up their careers in exchange for something completely different. Professionals being medical doctors, lawyers and even some Ph.D.’s. In grad school one of my favorite professor’s dreamt of giving up being a professor in favor of being a landscape architect. The ex-wife of a physician I used to work for gave up her medical degree to open a deli. A coworker of mine, while I was a post-doc, wanted to open a bakery.

People who step off the fast train to find personal fulfillment.

I always thought they were nuts. I mean didn’t you have some inkling way back when you were putting $200K into a medical degree that maybe, just maybe, this wasn’t what you wanted to do for the rest of your life? Or, I thought at the time, maybe they just have that amount of time and money to throw around willy nilly like.

I sure didn’t have money to throw around willy nilly. I was going to do my path and live happily ever after as a scientist or a professor.

Occasionally I will get the bug and go through the “what ifs”, which usually stay in the professional realm.

What if I would have gone to medical school?
What if I would have done engineering instead of science?
What if I would have done physics instead of chemistry?
What about math? I was always best at Math, what if someone would have told me that an actuary wasn’t the only option for a Math major?

But every once in awhile they veer to the personal fulfillment realm:
What if I would have been an artist?
What if I were a stay at home mom?
What if I were a chef? Ok, so the hours suck, maybe a caterer?
What about a photographer?
What if I were a writer?

Then the downright scary:
What if I would have been born in a third world country and never had access or an opportunity to go to school at all?

And that usually sets me straight and reminds me how very happy I am in my current position.

But most all of this is just bemusing, just food for thought.

Then the last few weeks hit.

Ok, so to be fair about it, add in the fact that 6 years ago I was on maternity leave with my son and had serious dread about going back to work. Was welfare better?

I came home a few times in the last few weeks and after a few emotional outbursts I wondered what life would be like if we moved to Alaska? Flew by the seat of our pants, sold our house, gave up our jobs and just saw what we could find? People do this, you know…

Naw. It's just a phase.

It's just the end of the fiscal year. It's just one floater on a charge code. It's just one demanding client. It's just that time of the year. And it's just that time of the month.

I can deal.


Vargasgirl said...

I like this post!!! Interesting to think of the "what if's" and who knows, in the future you MAY be taking a big leap.
As you know, I say this as I am floating after jumping off my cliff. :)

Nuclear Mom said...

You did take a huge leap! A most awesome leap at that. And it appears to have suited you quite well! Dang... I should have listed you in my examples!