Boy, it’s been a while.
This has been a tougher adventure than usual, though easier for some. This time, it’s not trekking the jungle. I’m not fumbling around a new place with my life in a bag, nor am I on a barely floating boat, praying to make it to shore. No, now, I’m tackling a different beast altogether – the 9-5.
Although it’s been almost six years since then, it feels like it was only yesterday that I had received yet another rejection letter from a NASA program. I thought about that last letter recently while training in NASA’s Mission Control Center.
Earlier this year, I was hired by a company to work as a flight controller for the International Space Station. As a part of that role, I’ll need to train on a team to fly the vehicle, keep our astronauts safe, and complete its mission. It’s been a demanding job. Constant exams challenge my technical knowledge about the space station’s power and thermal systems along with all the idiosyncrasies of such a complex machine. Communication exercises force me to shed hesitation, over-politeness, and indecisiveness to diagnose and troubleshooting issues in a simulator.
The biggest change to my life, however, has been the shift to a consistent, focused lifestyle.
There have been a lot of benefits to it, and slowing down a bit helps me see why others race towards it. The consistent pace of it all makes prioritization much easier. I can focus on specific goals and self-improvement at a steady pace. In fact, I’ve tried to focus more of my energy outside of this towards such endeavors – how can I give more than I take?
It’s been a time of self-reflection. I’ve spent many years living exactly how I wanted, when I wanted to. Such a way of doing things can blind you. The things you should hold onto and things you should change get picked up in the hurricane and become indistinguishable from one another. When you’re always running into the storm, you can only worry about yourself – and in that life, you take more than you give. It’s time to step away from the cyclone for a minute.
Still, I find myself needing to hop on a flight every now and then and watch the world shrink below me. It’s odd, I still breathe better where the air is thin.