I’m writing this draft of my column the old-fashioned way with pencil and a pad of yellow paper. I like the way the pencil feels in my hand and the smooth paper underneath it. Even better, I’m sitting outside on my veranda, enjoying the mild December temperatures. A soft rain is falling, and a light breeze brings fresh air from the east. I’m taking a break from deadline madness, but soon will have to return to my desk to put the finishing touches on this issue.
When I was younger, I never envisioned a career that required sitting behind a computer for hours on end. In fact, the idea never crossed my mind because I grew up BC–before computers. Now I find myself glued to my office chair way too much. My eyes become glazed, and my body gets sore as I sit at my desk and play with words on my computer screen.
Thankfully, I can control the number of hours I sit at my desk—except perhaps at deadline—and taking regular breaks helps keep me sane. Traveling is certainly one of my favorite ways to disconnect from technology. Experiencing new places, meeting interesting people, and appreciating the cultural diversity of lands near and far is a welcome tonic, and I’m grateful for the opportunities I have to see the world around us.
One of the most rewarding aspects of traveling is meeting people who are engaged in fulfilling their dreams. I’m always struck by the ways people manage to build their lives around their passions—whether it’s taking guests on horseback treks in the Ecuadorean Andes or making luscious wines in the mountains of Virginia. People who connect their passion with their profession are the lucky ones, yet even they will admit that tenacity and hard work are essential in achieving one’s goals.
The women featured in Kathleen Fogarty’s cover story have pursued careers in science and are proud of the strides they’ve made in their fields. Each woman chose to take the path less traveled and is leading the way for more women to enter non-traditional careers. Sometimes all it takes is a little encouragement from a teacher or a parent to encourage our youth to discover what possibilities are waiting.
The truth is those same opportunities await us all. I’ve often written in this column about the importance of changing careers if you are unhappy in your current job. In this month’s issue you’ll find a wealth of resources to help you find your passion in life. Our area abounds with schools that offer a variety of degrees and programs to help you discover the job you were meant to do.
As the new year unfolds, take a moment to look at where you are in life. Ask yourself if you are pursuing your true passion. If not, think about what really floats your boat and research what you need to do to get there. Then make a timeline and take action steps to go where you are meant to go.
I’ve always been interested in archaeology. I can’t imagine anything more thrilling than discovering historic artifacts or dinosaur bones underneath the ground. As Kathleen writes in her story, science involves telling stories: of the earth, outer space, nature, and of course humanity. While I don’t think I will go back to school and become an archaeologist at this stage of the game, I’m intrigued by the secrets they uncover, the puzzles they put together, the stories they reveal. These same principles can be applied to life every day. You can say we’re all archaeologists digging around in our own souls, trying to discover who we are.
Here’s hoping you find what you’re looking for in 2012!
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