When I was a wee lass of eight or nine, astronomy and stamp collecting and my little ponies were my latest obsessions. My mom brought home hard cover kid books that said things like THE SOLAR SYSTEM or THE SUN: OUR NEAREST STAR. My eyes popped out of my head. It was the pictures. I could NOT wrap my tiny mind around it. We had probes flying into SPACE. You know, that mysteriously dark, cold place that I only saw on television. We now had actual photographs of Jupiter, Mars, Saturn and Neptune. We could discuss and argue over things like, air quality on Titan or Mars. Science postitively blew my mind.
Fast forward years later. I’m still fascinated by astronomy. I catch myself reading Astronomy Now, Sarcastic Rover, Discovery News on Twitter. I’ll roam the magazine section of grocery stores just to pick up the latest Astronomy issues. Hell, just recently I watched Stargazing Live on BBC. I find that I cannot, will not, and don’t want to stop. I want to absorb and continue learning.
Should obsession have its boundaries?
Although it doesn’t interfere with my personal life or professional (hushhush, I do sneak quick reads at work) I do seriously wonder why I never went into astronomy as a career. Why, oh why, didn’t I major in astrobiology? What good is obsessing over something if you can never give back in any way?
My boyfriend and I want to have kids eventually, and we talked about how nerdy fun they will be. It’s definitely too late for me to go back to college, but I am thrilled to teach my kids about astronomy and take them to the Academy of Sciences. Maybe expanding my own child’s mind will be the ultimate way I give back.