Friday, May 14, 2010

When I grow Up...

I watched the space shuttle Atlantis begin its 32nd mission in space this morning (@wilw tweeted about it just in time, otherwise I would have missed it, then he blogged about it), and it was still a really cool feeling to see it go up.

It's really a symbolic cool feeling. I mean Atlantis is not doing anything extra special this time, but it symbolizes humanity's continued commitment to going where no human has gone before.

Something in me "gets" the whole explorer impetus, which may be why I became a fan of Science Fiction, and in some respect, Fantasy (exploration of the imagination).

When I was "a kid" in school we had to do reading one day in the "fiction" part of our library, and the other in the "non-fiction" part. When we got to do the non-fiction reading it was very difficult for some students to find books they wanted to read. Not for me. I could always find something to read.

I inevitably found one of four types of books to read, myths, poetry, sports or astronomy. So, it's of no surprise, perhaps, that when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was one of three things: hockey player, astronomer, or writer.

As it happened, I wasn't great at the maths, so when I found out you had to be, astronomer was out. I was chubby as a child and wasn't already in hockey, so that quickly became out too. That left me with writing, by default.

But why astronomer? Why not astronaut? Yeah, I wonder that too. I think it was that I was just taken by stars. The moon and space walking didn't hold as much interest as the massiveness involved in contemplating the contents of the entire universe and its workings. I guess that was it. I had always been a kid in search of answers about how the world worked, and while the earthly questions were interesting, the universal questions really got me going.

That said, I'd rupture my left nut (sorry Sami!) to get into space now. I mean, I think you get to a point in life when you're thinking about what you are likely to do, and what you're not, and maybe as a kid I always thought I'd get a chance to get into space, so it didn't cross my mind to really want it. But now I know that unless I suddenly become VERY rich, I'm going to be earthbound 'till our expanding sun blows our earth and all our bits into space. So now I want it. Which may be another reason why watching Atlantis's rise today was still a really cool feeling.

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