Unless you’ve been hiding under an asteroid lately, you
probably read or heard that Voyager 1, the venerable space probe sent out by
NASA in 1977, has ‘officially’ left the solar system. Now let me start off by
saying I’m a space nut. I love Astronomy, mapping the stars, learning about the
Universe and every strange and amazing thing in it. As a kid I watched TV shows
like Star Trek, Buck Rodgers, Battlestar Galactica, and Lost in Space reruns
enjoying every minute of it. Also, secretly wishing everything in those shows
could happen or were possible. As I got
older, I realized watching those shows expanded my imagination and creative
horizons. They taught me that just because something isn’t possible today,
doesn’t mean it can’t come true in the future. I always look to the future with
a strong sense of wonder and hope. To me, the future represents a time where
things are better, problems are solved, and knowledge is gained,
accomplishments earned, and there’s some pretty kick ass Sci-Fi technology to
scoot us around the cosmos.
Okay, so let’s get back to Voyager. It’s a space probe about
the size of a small car and it’s all alone in the vastness of outer space, just
on the edge of what we might call our neighborhood. From NASA’s most recent report, it’s about 11
billion miles away. A stone’s throw in galactic terms, but to us humans that’s
more distance than any other manmade object has ever traveled. Now Voyager 2 is
only a few billion miles behind, but still. The thought of that little craft, a
fragile mechanical messenger, flying through space to a fate unknown is mesmerizing.
Think of it. I’ve imagined hitching a ride on that craft and experiencing a bit
of its journey. Putting aside for a moment the logistics of actually floating
along with the thing, just to experience for a brief second the wonders that
craft will endure is truly breathtaking.
The Earth is our home and yet, nature finds a way to erase
evidence of our existence. Though we may try to fight it off, erosion is
inevitable. But, in the distant future, thousands of years after our
civilization has morphed and changed into something wholly unrecognizable, or
vanished completely from this world, Voyager will still be journeying out among
the stars. Barring any strange or freak occurrence like a collision with some
rogue asteroid or something, it will persist. Our legacy to the universe, our infinitesimally
small yet distinct contribution proving that we existed will continue on to
points unknown. If that’s not enough to inspire a bit of awe and wonder in your
mind, you might want to check your pulse. For me, it’s fascinating without end,
and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Achievement can be considered the pinnacle of effort.That which you have strived for, worked for, endured much, promised little and sacrificed to accomplish all becomes secondary to the pride and joy that comes with Achievement.You’ve done it!All feats, great and small bring with them a sense of satisfaction.Once you’ve experienced that sense of wonder and awe at your own abilities you will finally understand what it means to be self-reliant, resilient, and persistent.Picking a goal and powering through what life gives you to accomplish that goal has no substitute.
Once you have reached that level of accomplishment and know what it takes to get there, you must push yourself even further.You may have heard the old cliché “don’t rest on your laurels.”Well basically that means you need to keep challenging yourself.If you don’t, your achievement will fade.I believe a fundamental goal in life should be to continually strive and push yourself to achieve ever greater accomplishments.I can tell you personally, after 4 years, I’ve finally finished my Master’s degree.I just received my diploma in the mail and it is now hanging on my office wall.It means a lot to me, because I went through a lot, professionally and personally while trying to achieve that goal of getting my degree.Now that I’m finished, I’m thinking of what my next challenge should be.
Sir Edmund Hillary’s quote is quite apt, at least for me, but at the same time, I’m reminded of that little ditty we’d sing when we were kids “…The bear went over the mountain, the bear went over the mountain, the bear went over the mountain… to see what he could see.He saw another mountain, he saw another mountain, he saw another mountain, so guess what he did.The bear went over the mountain…”Life is full of mountains.Go climb them, and conquer!