Sunday, March 28, 2010

When you were a kid, did you think that at your current age, you would be living the life you are currently living?

In broad strokes, yes, I think so. Meaning that I am lucky to have a family: a wife, children. Having been blessedly lucky with my own childhood family, I have always felt a strong pull for having one of my own.

But I wasn't single-minded about it like HIMYM's Ted Moseby, who is obsessively searching for The One who will marry him and make his search for a wife a success and (presumably) validate his life in some way that he has not been able to do alone.

Frankly, and many of my childhood and high school friends would corroborate this, I've never had lots of skills in the wooing & dating department. I could count the number of girlfriends I've had on half of one hand.

So, I'm very lucky to had met a wonderful woman like Lynda and I'm super lucky to have three good kids. But I can't tell you "how" I got them, except to say that if you make family a priority, maybe the effort you put into it will generate satisfactory results.


As for the specifics of my daily life? Well, I never sat up at night imagining the life of a textbook editor living in the Midwest. But that is the life I have. And I am happy to have it. As a kid, I toyed with lots of imaginary jobs--the typical things boys think of, such as policeman, fireman, astronaut. But I was never motivated toward learning skills that resulted in such things. I loved to read and I read lots of fantasy and science fiction books. So I have always lived something similar to the "life of the mind" rather than an active life of sports.

When I was in college, I started out wanting to be an anthropologist, mostly because my best HS teacher had excited me with understanding the skeletal system and anatomy. But as I studied, I grew more interested in the cultural side of anthropology and the systems that humans have created to define the world they were trying to understand. And then I had a few really good history teachers during my undergraduate studies that made the study of history seem like a good way to shape my career. And that led to a Master's Degree and (after a year of not getting into the first set of PhD programs that I pursued) a reason to move to Ohio and try to complete the studies that would lead to a professorship.

But, along that path Lynda found a good job with the aforementioned textbook company. And I began to realize that 1.) if I finished my degree I would have to pick up my young family and search for a career elsewhere--taking Lynda away from a good job, and b.) maybe I could use the skills and education that I had acquired in college toward the same type of job she had, and c.) to be a successful professor demanded a lifestyle and a personality that I was increasingly sure was not suited to who I wanted to be.

So, I shifted my focus in this direction and this is where I am. I could never have plotted this path ahead of time, but made adjustments to things as I went.

So, no. If I had achieved the life I imagined as child, I would be flying an X-wing fighter through space pursuing Darth Vader, with my lightsaber hanging off of my hip.

Instead, I more often than not have a kid hanging off of my hip and cruise in a minivan.

And I'm okay with that.

So, there is your answer.

Thanks for asking.

Ask me anything

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