My friends became concerned as month four of the layoff train arrived at the station. When the journey started I had a lot of fuel and a couple of cars with very few baggage. At each destination, Santa Cruz, San Francisco and San Juan, I delivered most of the emotional baggage I was carrying but the train was getting heavier even though we were losing cargo.
Why? As my old problems faded into the distance new ones emerged. New baby announcements, engagements, promotions and vacations to exotic places started popping up at each new location. It seemed the world continued to deliver good news to those around me, confirmation that once again the fates had skipped us nerds and gone somewhere else.
Tempting the fates has never been my MO (modus operandi). Safety, responsibility and knowledge are three of my main core values. I don’t risk too much or too little. Many decades ago I found the perfect balance for success and I execute the plan daily. The benefits reaped have been bountiful but yet there is something missing, and I want to find out what that may be.
Applying the scientific method to my life, I examined all the variables. The diplomas on the wall a testament to my vocation as an engineer and scientist, serving as proof that I had the right stuff to complete and accurately interpret my analysis. The hypothesis was truly simple: Why am I on a different path than my counterparts?
Why are we SO special?
Our career paths weren’t getting in the way of starting a family. Budget-wise we could afford well over the 2.5 kids statistically alloted to the average American family. Being close to the median national age of 36.8, we are part of the happening, up and coming professionals. Soon we’d be the bosses, the leaders of tomorrow. Definitely it wasn’t for lack of trying.
We have investments, not enough to quit our jobs but enough to maintain our lifestyle. Upcoming trips to Europe and other states were paid in advance and are affordable. Coupons and specials were my way to shop way before I ever lost my job. In a level playing field all of my friends are on similar terrain. We all have the same potential to achieve and maintain the lifestyle we want to lead.
Peer pressure is not an issue. Whenever a friend complained that we traveled too much I reminded them that they had other hobbies that they enjoyed that most likely cost the same as our trip budget. Having arrived before most to the area we can unequivocally say we want to stay here for a few more decades, maybe even retire here and buy a bigger home to entertain future generations of Enginerds. We don’t need to go back home. Our home is here with us, our extended family ever present in our hearts and one smartphone app away.
The only variable that was different was my ability to see the future. A true visionary, I set my expectations high and my goals even higher. I accept no defeat; if it is broken we shall fix it. Humans and things alike, I don’t discard anything unless it can’t be saved or repaired. Experience has taught me that the only reason to let things go is if they don’t serve a purpose anymore, if they lost their form, fit or function. Even then we don’t throw it away, it is either recycled or offered to someone that may have a need for it. There is no waste of energy when we interact with our world as we do our best to conserve every resource on the planet and inside ourselves. Taking on new challenges and being kind to new people is something deeply programed into my operating system.
After analyzing all the data there was no particular reason why we were on a different path except maybe priviledge and immense amounts of good luck and serendipity. As Mr. Enginerd puts it, your particular deity or belief system doesn’t want us to have children. They have set us on a path that precludes Tinkerbell and Jake the Pirate parties. It steers us away from baby formula and diapers and into other realms like community service and mentorship. Our legacy isn’t to procreate and bring more people into the world; it is to teach the people that are already here, to inspire and help them reach their goals and dreams. Our legacy lives in our friends, family, work, kindness and the love we share with you.
My train will always unload emotional cargo and load up new adventures. Some will be my own and some will require that I accompany others on their journey. As each one of these new endeavors ends I come closer to becoming the person life needs me to be, not a creature of habit or selfishness but a being in perpetual motion. The passengers will pull all the stops and I will oblige, always asking and providing assitance for the heavy items and understanding that each stop has its timing and reason. There’s no need to question where I am in life or why I am here. It is my mission to deliver the train to the main depot in a better condition than I found it.
After all is said and done I will reach my destination and boy, what awesome stories I will tell!