Thursday, July 8, 2010

How I Got My Start

There's a saying that you can never go back.  OK, that may be true in the relativistic sense, but we can always go back in our minds.  Though memory is not perfect, snippets come back as powerful as steamrollers.  I live an ordinary life, filled with the usual trappings of exurbia.  However, I am not an ordinary person.  I am a bit eclectic and have unusual tastes and interests, some of which are seemingly opposite.  For example, I am extremely logical, rational, skeptical, and totally into science (in fact, that's my day job- science teacher!).  I am a control freak, a Miss Smarty Pants, an Eeyore if I let myself become one.  But I am also creative, artistic, and imaginative ( and that's my night job- artist!).  So, how did I get this way?  I asked myself many time what is the source?  Well, I can look to my dad, who was a medical doctor and also a frustrated artist (since he was limited in artistic ability or just didn't bother to discover it, he decided to collect art rather than create it).  My two sisters are also artistic, in fact, one majored in art and became an art teacher.  Family history aside there was something nagging at me that connected the two in my memory.  Then the other week I ordered a gem and mineral book for my collection and while I was perusing the digital bookshelves, I noticed a book I had when I was small.   It was The Golden Guide to Rock, Minerals, and Gems by Herbert Zim (of Curious George fame- yikes- another artist/scientist type!)  My grandparents purchased the book for me when we were on an outing at Howes Cavern, a popular limestone cave attraction in central NY.  I remember carrying this book around with me everywhere I went, dog-earing the pages, starring, checking off minerals and rocks I had seen.  I wanted so badly to find some of these earthly delights in my own backyard (or my grandmother's, whichever), but I realized that many of the fabulous gem and mineral collecting areas were way out of reach (Sri Lanka, where's that again? I'd ask myself).  In reading and loving this book, I was feeding into my duel interests:  science, particularly earth science, and sparkly things, i.e. gems.  When I think about it, this book was the start of it all for me- what better way to combine competing interests?  I ended up becoming a science teacher and one of the courses I teach is high school level Earth Science, so my passion for rocks, volcanoes, and astronomy is now being fulfilled.  My other lifelong love of glittering gems has also been realized in my jewelry making.  I always incorporate semiprecious beads and metals into my work.  The more glittery, the better.  One day I might "graduate" to precious gems and gold, but they are a tad costly and my jewelry budget does not currently allow it.  But I am loving the semiprecious minerals and silver!

How many people can trace a source for the path(s) their lives take?  I doubt many could, in fact, it didn't dawn on me until a couple of weeks ago that my vocation (science teaching) and my avocation (jewelry making ) were birthed by the same book!

Do you know what shaped the path of your life?  Comment below if you'd like.

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