Throughout most of my elementary school career, I wanted to be an astronaut. There were a few moments where I wanted to be a lion tamer. But mostly, I wanted to be an astronaut. I never really thought of being a lion taming astronaut. That would’ve been pretty sweet. Can you imagine taming Martian lions? Or what about bears on Venus? Or wrestling Saturn’s tigers?
Interstellar lions. And tigers. And bears.
But seriously, I really wanted to be an astronaut for a long time. I think a large cross-section of my generation had similar aspirations. And it wasn’t just because of Star Wars (although I suspect it might have had something to do with it. Maybe. Or maybe the two worked hand-in-hand. I loved Star Wars and I loved all things space. My love for Star Wars encouraged my love for space exploration. And my love for space exploration encouraged my love for Star Wars. It was a symbiotic relationship.
But then the unthinkable happened.
The Challenger exploded and everything changed. I think my dream, along with the dream of many other elementary school students, died that day. Don’t get me wrong. I have no delusions that I would have actually been able to become an astronaut. My woeful math skills and limited science expertise kind of helped slam that door shut.
But I still think quite a bit about space exploration, space travel, and discovering worlds unknown. I still get chills when I stand in the presence of capsules that have been into space. And yes, I’m still kicking myself for skipping out on the final Space Shuttle landing. On some clear nights, I stand outside and gaze into the sky. The unknown of the Final Frontier gently tugs at me. And I fantasize about visiting a galaxy far, far away.
I still find myself wondering what might have been. What would I have looked like in an astronaut suit?
And there you have it. Pretty impressive. Right?
**I’m participating in the April A to Z Challenge. This post is part of that endeavor. A lot of people are doing the same thing. You should check out some of their posts!**