Monday, June 9, 2008

Am I where I thought I would be by 30?

No, not really. It's amazing how different life turns out to be from what you thought it might be like when your 20. I had all these "i want to do this by the time i'm 30" and none of them really panned out. I didn't even think a PhD was an option when I was 20 (to be honest it's never something I had EVER considered), now look where I am. I thought I would be in the backcountry somewhere as a primary school teacher with several kids under my arms and a house full of animals. Not that that doesn't appeal at all (it really does in fact), but I'm not taking what I have for granted either, it's been a ride, mostly fun but there's been more than a few downers along the way too. I thought my sister would be here, hanging out, probably loving Hawaii much more than I do. How quickly life can change, and how easily it moves from what you ever thought it might be.

The bad things over ten years can easily overwhelm the good, so I figured maybe I should reflect and look at the good things i've accomplished since turning 20 (things other than having root canal the day before I turned 30 and getting my first major wrinkle).

Things I've done since 1998 (in no real order)-
  1. Finished a BSc in Marine and Freshwater Biology
  2. Started and finished a PhD in deep-sea ecology
  3. Since 2000, i've been on 18 research cruises (I think, I lost count somewhere) to three different oceans (Atlantic, Pacific, Southern)
  4. Been a Principle Investigator on two cruises
  5. Watched some amazing sunrises, and sunsets, over many amazing places with many amazing people
  6. Been down to 3500m in the submersible Alvin, seen coral reefs at 1000m and hydrothermal vents at 3000m with my own eyes out the sub porthole
  7. Published twelve papers and a book chapter
  8. Moved my life from the UK to Woods Hole for 4 years, then moved again to Honolulu
  9. Been to - the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, Bermuda, Mexico, Canada, Antarctica and many of the US states that are so different some of them could be their own countries!
  10. Finally saw a moose after 12 independent trips to moose country to look for them!
  11. Became an aunt (yes I know I had LOTS to do with that one.....:0), a crazy aunt at that
  12. Stepped on the Antarctic continent
  13. Got a faculty job (in Hawaii of all places)
  14. Snorkeled at night with corals spawning all around me
  15. Ended a bad relationship, and started a good one
  16. I've gone from a $500 1962 landrover to a brand new car in ten years, but I still love my landrover more, as rusty and holey as she is now.......
  17. Had seven research proposals funded - four big ones (two with cruises)
  18. I've grown in confidence, and in carefreeness
  19. Knocked six parks off my life-time goal of visiting, camping and hiking in, all 58 National Parks in USA (Haleakala, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Acadia, Isle Royale)
  20. I have my own lab, thats just mine
  21. Hiked the Presidential Traverse (23.8 miles, 9050ft elevation gain, 11 peaks including Mt Washington) in 2 days on the second attempt. But i'm pleased with that....:0)
  22. Learnt to ski and snowboard, neither of which i'm any good at, but I have learnt I really love the snow, never saw very much of that before I was 20
  23. I've snorkeled with sealions, swum with penguins, seen orcas, humpbacks, baby blue whales and sperm whales, watched giant tortoises waddle and great albatross' fly, watched urchin eggs be fertilized and become babies - in short i've seen some pretty amazing natural sites, too numerous to list here and all I am grateful to have witnessed
  24. I've moved from sharing a house with 5 people i hated; into a tiny studio with pink walls and red trim in the middle of the Southampton red light district; into my pdoc advisors basement; into a huge two bedroom apartment with dining room, double kitchen, deck, garden and pond; into a much smaller two bedroom house with wonderful garden; into a shoebox studio which is seven steps from front door to back (and thats around a chair)
  25. And I share that shoebox with two geckos
  26. And I actually love the shoebox and having to downsize, it's been good for me
  27. Made many lifelong friends, too many to count
All in all people keep asking me what it's like to be 30, and I feel it's really no different from being 29, life goes on. I look like i'm 20 (or so i'm told by the masses) and I 'feel' somedays like i'm 50, so does the actual number really matter? Since I can rarely remember how old I am anyway, it probably doesn't, but it's been good to lay the above out and remind myself that I am actually moving forward rather than standing still, as much as I feel like it sometimes.


nea said...

damn girl. i mean...damn, girl!
if you weren't so darn likable, i might have to hate you.

HAPPY 30th!!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh my heavens! How very impressive! What a grand survey!

Re no. 19--Don't forget that you've also been to Yosemite National Park and Grand Canyon National Park-two of the most exquisitely beautiful places in the world!

bsa said...

Whoops! Clocked something before I added bsa to the above!

RGW said...

Isle Royale was really a highlight too - under-discovered (though maybe it's better that way), amazingly beautiful scenery (esp in autumn when i went), amazing campsites, and FULL of MOOSE and WOLVES.....what could be better.....:0)