One of my favorite quotes from astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is, “Kids should be allowed to break stuff more often. That’s a consequence of exploration. Exploration is what you do when you don’t know what you’re doing.” What he’s saying is that allowing children to bumble through some minor mistakes cultivates an inquisitive, curious personality that remains through adulthood.
Although my parents were conservative to the point of scolding me over most flubs, they were powerless over major world events that caught my attention. I feel very fortunate that my curiosity was enhanced by the blossoming of the Space Age during my childhood.
Exploration was unavoidable. The Soviet Union launched Sputnik One, the year before I started kindergarten. The United States was in a hurry to play catch-up just as I began attending public school. I remember our classes going to a meeting room in February of 1962, where a television set on a tall rack was tuned to the launch of the Mercury mission flight. That was the flight of John Glenn’s orbital mission around the Earth. We repeated the same process with each subsequent Mercury launch that happened during school hours. 1962 was also the year that “Telstar” by the Tornados was my favorite song.
By the time I neared high school graduation, Apollo Eleven unfolded its historical drama. I watched the Moon landing on television with my best friend on his family’s television set.
The year before Apollo Eleven, the groundbreaking movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” was released. Stanley Kubric and Arthur C. Clarke had created a masterpiece that I still greatly enjoy dissecting and analyzing to this day.
The evening my little brother and I watched the film in the theater was also the night we witnessed peculiarly low clouds passing over town. This happened later that night as we lay in our sleeping bags in the backyard. That night became one of the most memorable of my life.
Although I never became a part of the Space Program, it remained in the background as my life unfolded. Exploration of inner space became my passion. Although many of my peers went down the route of hallucinogens and hard drugs, none of that held any allure. I chose a legal route to mind expansion through music and Eastern Philosophy. After all, a natural high is the best type of high because you can remember it afterwards.
The subject of exploration is front and center in my mind right now because I am embarking on a new (for me) adventure. I have signed a purchase agreement to buy the house I have been renting for the past few decades. Upon his retirement, my landlord gave me first consideration to purchase the place. I mulled over the prospect last month and finally decided to go ahead with the deal.
This will be a journey of new concerns and new practices of personal finance and budgeting. This will probably help expand my point of view about practical matters. I’ve reacquainted my self with that old demon–worry. I anticipated worry so there will be the need for meditation and time-outs more often.
The benefits should outweigh the negatives, so I’m looking forward to home ownership in the spirit of adventure and discovery. The journey has begun because the paperwork is signed and the change in ownership from bank to me will take place gradually over the next several years. I look forward to learning new things about myself.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes essayist and philosopher, José Ortega y Gasset. “The good is, like nature, an immense landscape in which man advances through centuries of exploration.”
Congrats on the purchase of your home. It’s scary to make such a bold move, but in the long run, I think you’ll be very happy with your decision.
Thanks Doug. The closing date is scheduled for today.
Congratulations on home ownership and a lifetime of exploration. Like you, I was a NASA junkie as a kid and read about and watched all of the space shots. Little did I know that almost 30 years later I’d work with Neil Armstrong from time to time who served on the board of the company I worked for! Armstrong was one of the nicest people and ironically very “down to earth.” Here is the post if you are interested.
Thank you for the comments and for the link.