Mainly, I have been able to take a look at what I really want out of life and if what I am doing professionally is really lining up with those goals. I have thought a lot about what drives me and what makes me happy. These types of things have changed over time. Especially since I had kids.
Here is a quick run down of the things that have driven me over my life:
Pre-pubescent Berserker: Being good at soccer and school, pleasing my parents, having friends, doing what's right. Hey- I was a kid. I was a good kid (I think). In reality, my world was very small.
|Friedrich Nietzsche. Sweet 'stache!|
|Time for me to grow up? I don't want any part.|
|All cool people have mustaches right?|
Early Grad School Berserker: Sex, my fiance, PHYSICS, punk rock, camaraderie It was grad school. You can't judge me... I lived and breathed physics. 60 hours of quantum mechanics and electrodynamics a week. Cool. Sleep is stupid anyways. I also got engaged and married My poor soon to be wife... My band also broke up. We all had kind of grown our separate ways. Man, that was fun! Playing shows that is.
Late Grad School Berserker: Wife, child, sex, physics, GRADUATION. While I was in grad school, my wife was diagnosed with cancer. She is fine now, thankfully. We were living together, 1000 miles away from our families and she had cancer. We really only had each other. It is the kind of thing that defines a relationship. It also helps put dumb things in context. As for school, everyone in grad school eventually gets sick of being poor and stuck in grad school. So you bust your ass and finish your research. I just did it with an infant strapped to my chest. I actually wrote an entire chapter of my dissertation from 2-6 am with my infant son strapped to my chest. We had our first kid while I was still in grad school and it was not as horrible sounding as it seemed. I was on a fellowship, so I worked from home 3 days a week (really worked nights) and my wife worked from home 2 days a week. We couldn't afford daycare, so we made it work. Luckily she had a great boss!
That pretty much brings us up to date. Well kind of. So, what drives me today. Sadly and gratefully, much of the same. Wife, kids and sex probably at the front. Yeah, I had sex on every list but never mentioned it. I think sex and a sex drive are sort of a constant in a young man's life. Always there in the back of your head...
There are some things that drive me now, that I would have never thought would motivate me. Money is important to me. Not that important, but I need to clothe and feed the little monsters that are my spawn. Plus, I like to buy them things. Just admitting that money is a driving force in my life, even a small one, makes my punk rock soul rage and spin inside me.
Be true to thyself. I am a wild dichotomy of social rebellion, punk rock scientist, father and husband. I am often at odds with myself about anything as mundane as what grocery store to shop at (small, local expensive vs. corporate sell out) to as complex as how to handle talking about death with my kids (easy lies vs. truthful pain).
No matter how difficult that may be.