It’s interesting to think about what a person has dreamed about in the past and to relate that to what’s happened through life.

At one point in my life I wanted to play with supercomputers. I thought that this would be the ultimate job ever. To have the power of the fastest computers in the world at my fingertips. To have some of the biggest brains come to me asking questions. Now, well, I that’s pretty much what I do, and yet, it’s not enough. It’s still fun sometimes, most days though, it’s just a job. I work on the fastest computer in the UK and the second fastest in all of Europe. Big woop. It’s just a sad bunch of small pieces that have been put together to make a big thing.

I always wanted to live in Alaska, what an adventure that would be! 3 1/2 years outside of Fairbanks Alaska, and yes, it was one hell of an adventure. You can’t describe the Northern Lights properly. It’s just not possible. I liked it there, but it didn’t live up to the hype in my mind. After less than 4 years we decided to head off and try somewhere new.

Europe. How cool would it be to live there. What an adventure for the family to live in a place just dripping with history. Well, in reality, it pretty much sucks. It’s not bad mind you, it’s just not the adventure I though it might be. I still fight bills, crappy medical, daily crud, etc. It’s fun to go check out the occasional ruin, true. But the crappy pay, absolutely shitty health system, societal bent to master and servant mentality, etc. Well, it leaves much to desire.

What made me think of this? Well, I was just sitting here at my laptop watching an interview with Freeman Dyson, yes I’m a nerd, and thinking how cool it would be to get a small office at some university and be able to do in depth research into some esoteric subject. To work at a lab like Oak Ridge and write papers on quantum computing, underwater basket weaving, memes, quantum black holes, or whatever. How absolutely cool would that be. Go back to school, get my doctorate, and then let the mind wander into new territories. How absolutely fun that would be. How fulfilling a life like that might be.

Be careful of what you wish for. That small office would come with a small paycheck, politics, grant writing, infighting, etc. It wouldn’t be the perfect world imagined. Success isn’t measured in tangible things. It’s measured in happiness. In satisfaction with oneself. I always thought I would be satisfied doing what I’m doing right now, and yet, here I am dreaming about what it would be like to do something else. How funny life can be. Where does this drive for the next thing over the hill end?

One of my hero’s in life was my Uncle Bill. William Wenzloff. If you Googled his name you wouldn’t get a single hit. He dropped out of school in the 9th grade. He never made a fortune. Didn’t write a single paper for publish. Spent most of his life turning a wrench to make ends meet. He died quietly of cancer without making a huge impact on anyones life outside of a tight group of people. And yet, I look to him for inspiration. There was just something about him and his life that people could look to with admiration. At least I do.

Advertisements