Is There More Than This?
January 26, 2010 10 Comments
If you can’t tell from the posts of the last month, I’ve been going through a little bit of an existential crisis. Mostly it is work based, but part of it is relationship based. To be perfectly honest, I’m not very happy with most aspects of my life right now – at work or at home. I’m not depressed by any means, I’m more stagnant and thirsting for change and fulfillment.
And I can’t help but ask myself: Is this all there is?
The truth of the matter is that I always imagined that I would be making a difference in the world. That I would be doing something each day that would help humanity.
And SURE, you can say that my science helps the world (if I were to discover or lay the foundation for something awesome) – but let’s be honest here, most science doesn’t do squat except expand what college students need to know to graduate and make it ever increasingly more difficult for me to describe to a layperson “what I do”.
And SURE, you can say that my teaching students can change their world or their life. But I’m honestly not that influential or powerful of a teacher. I’m doing well enough just now to not confuse the students with electrons and protons and keep my grading in order. I know that some people are gifted teachers, I also know that I’m not an inspirational one, I’m a DECENT one. I won’t change anyone’s life, for better or for worse.
I always imagined that I would be saving the world. Healing the sick in underprivileged countries or building water ways so that people can have fresh water. Taking care of kids of domestic violence. Or developing a drug that would save humanity. Curing the diseases that killed my family. I really had very noble goals and dreams.
And now I feel like my life is just dealing with graduate student’s bullshit, worrying about following the job trail and trying to convince undergrads that Chemistry isn’t “that bad”.
However, I can’t think of anything that I want to do, with my skills and education, that I feel would truly be helping the world. But I guess I imagine myself running into Haiti or some other stricken country and saying “Wait! No! Let me help you fix your bridges with my knowledge of Chemistry!” Doesn’t really work that way… does it?
I guess I’m just looking for a meaning to my work beyond getting grants and doing more work. Because this is all the future seems to be at this point and I think I want something more.