I am dissatisfied with my work these days. Actually, more with the outcome of my work, if one can say so.
I work in a research lab, connected to the university. The lab is like a secluded world, which has a life of its own. It is a working environment like no other, in that respect, that it changes constantly. This due to the fact, that most of my colleagues are young students, which stay around for a couple of years and then leave. Sometimes I miss having colleagues that stay for extended period of time and are more my age, sharing my sentiments about life and understanding more the experience I have, and recognizing themselves in subjects I like to discus.
I remember when I was the youngest one in the lab; it feels like yesterday. Now I am almost the oldest.
I have described my work in one of my earlier post. Don’t misunderstand me; I completely LOVE what I do. But science is tough. Sometimes I face problems that just simply feel unsolvable. It takes persistence end devotion and all of my energy to move on with something that is not working. The most difficult part, at least for me, is to keep ones logic and sanity, to rely on facts and not let ones imagination run wild when experiments yield contradictory results.
At times like these I often wonder what would happened if I pursued something else in my younger years. I had many plans on what I wanted to become.
In a way I envy those who knew since childhood what their calling was, just like my mother. Already when she was a little girl playing with dolls, she was always treating them for something imaginary. She always knew she wanted to be a pediatrician (a child physician).
I on the other hand changed my profession as I went along. As a child I dreamed of excavating old tombs and digging up old bones and pottery. After reading about Heinrich Schliemann and his excavation of ancient Troy, I was going to be an archeologist.
As a teenager, I was interested in nature and agriculture and contemplated to marry a farmer and tend to a large piece of land.
Later on, on the encouragement of my art teacher, I played with the idea of studying art. However, after he took me around a few art schools and they all declined taking me in, I gave that idea up, somewhat disillusioned.
As a young woman, becoming more a realist and less of a dreamer, I realized I liked chemistry and figured maybe pharmacology would be something I could study. Eventually I ended up in the field of biochemistry.
Growing up in the 80s, we were encouraged not to pursue wild dreams, but get a real profession. A traditional one, such as a teacher, a lawyer, a physician. Becoming an artist or a journalist was out of question.
Today I wish someone would have told me, back then, that studying art did not mean that I had to make a living making my own paintings. There is so much in art I could have done and I wish I would have.
But then again, I know, that in a few days, in a few weeks, maybe a month or two, my impossible scientific problem will be solved and my troubles will be history and I would have overcome yet another hurdle. And then, when someone will ask me what I do for a living and I will describe to others what my profession is about, they will tell me that I indeed have the ultimate dream job, working in such a free and creative environment. In my line of work, I am a bit of an adventuress, pushing the frontiers of science forward - if it is ever so slightly. Like ancient traveler, I am privileged to discover and to thread a ground no one has before me.