Written by DeAnna Erdmann
When I think back to my childhood I can remember being in the fifth grade the first time that I truly heard of a profession and felt like it was something I could do all of my life. We were learning about sea mammals and went over how marine biologists studied sea life and worked closely with them in the wild and at theme parks and aquariums. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I wanted to be a marine biologist and focus on marine mammals. Dolphins and manatees to be exact.
I had a favorite show on television called SeaQuest. There was a dolphin on the show that had a special peace of equipment that allowed him to talk to his human counterparts. I fell in love with the dolphin as quickly as I fell in love with the boy that was his best friend. Jonathan Brandis was the most handsome boy I had ever seen. He was intelligent and could swim like a fish. He worked with the crew of the submarine as they went on crazy adventures. I think I somehow thought that I could work on the SeaQuest submarine one day if I became a marine biologist. For several months I read everything I could about manatees and dolphins. I drew pictures of them obsessively and even wrote stories where some sea creature or another was my friend and each story had its own silly adventure that my sea friend and I would go on.
Looking back it wasn’t really the best job for me. Sure, my imagination ran wild with the wonderful possibilities, but I don’t like to swim in the ocean. In fact, I don’t like to swim in any water that is so dingy that I can’t see to the bottom. I don’t know how to scuba dive or snorkel and holding my breath is not my strong suit. No matter how irrational my brain or husband tells me I am, I cannot shake the overwhelming fear that a shark or piranha are lurking beneath the surface waiting to eat me and my children.
I am sure that if I had gone on to be a marine biologist I would have quickly overcome my fears and dislikes. I have no doubt that I would have seen amazing things and worked with interesting creatures. But I am no one to look on the past longingly or to fantasize over the infamous “what if”. If you let your mind wander to places it doesn’t live too often then you will never be happy where you are. The present is real and it is actually happening and it holds enough wonder and excitement and hardship of its own, it doesn’t need me to complicate it with something that never was. I look back on those silly dreams of yesteryear with fondness, but I am far to happy with my hear and now to spend much time there. I think it was Jason Mraz who said in a song that we should “grow where our feet are planted” and I am very content to let me feet take root.