Ballerina Doctor Lawyer Astronaut

If I keep waiting to write something until something good happens or I’m in a delightfully good mood, who even knows how long we’ll all be waiting?

So I will write, and not be too complain-y because even I am totally bored of being a total downer. I haven’t been a downer everywhere, though. I have been posting things the delight me on tumblr, mostly innocuous things that don’t say much about my life, other than that I obviously love owls. And sea mammals.

Because of this love of sea mammals, I was sending videos of rescued baby walruses to a friend of mine, who has a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biophysics and her undergraduate work was in molecular biology. And she mentioned that when she was young, she definitely wanted to be a marine biologist – like almost every other person with an early interest in science. But then reality set in and she ended up in micro rather than macro and now she studies ion channels as her career. “Marine biologist” is sort of “ballerina/doctor/lawyer/astronaut” for the high school set – it sounds cool and fulfilling, but the details of how to make it into a real career are fuzzy at best when the plan is announced to peers and parents – and it got me thinking about the things we do for a living, as real and boring grown-ups.

See, I’m in the process of interviewing for a job. I have a job, yes, and I hope to keep it if this interview process doesn’t pan out, but I will definitely be sad because the thing I’m interviewing for is, like, my dream job. Not my… I dunno… ULTIMATE dream job, though, because that involves space travel and Thai food. But it’s perfect for where I am and what I’m doing and what I intend to be doing 5 years from now. It’s a point on a career path that leads to a lot of options and that is totally unlike what I’ve been doing for most of my adult life. (The thing I’ve been doing, for the record, is wandering aimlessly.)

One of the things I find fascinating about being on this career path, though, is that five years ago, I didn’t even know this career path existed. I didn’t know this job function was a job function, let alone that it was one that you could get a degree in, and I still don’t know how to describe it to my parents. It is semi-complicated, a little abstract, and can’t really be boiled down to an evocative yet factual sentence that gives the listener any sense of what the job actually is. It is not a thing that anyone ever dreamed of being in elementary or high school, and yet it is a thing that is integral to the functioning of a certain very-tiny-but-important sector of society. (And that tiny-but-important sector is not “rich people” – you don’t get into science for the dolla-dolla bills, yo. Unless you do, in which case you aren’t reading this blog because damn, you have applications to get out the door.)

Anyway. What’s the takeaway here? I’m full of hope about this abstract and difficult to describe job. I’m thinking about transferring some of my exuberance about sea mammals from non-anonymous tumblr to this space – sort of like decorating the walls of a dorm room to make it your own. And being a boring-ass grown-up is actually way more interesting than anyone led me to believe.

Interesting. Yes. I’ll use that word.

Anyway, here are some baby walruses:

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2 Comments

Filed under building a life

2 responses to “Ballerina Doctor Lawyer Astronaut

  1. Space travel and Thai food? THAT’S MY ULTIMATE DREAM JOB, TOO! With the addition of fuzzy socks.

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