If I would have been asked when I was five, while I was making mud pies, riding horses, or throwing rocks into the irrigation ditches, what I would be doing when I was older, I would have said I was going to be a scientist spending my career working outside, playing in the water, watching animals and saving the environment. I wanted to be a zookeeper, a massage therapist, a doctor, a baker, and a hairdresser.
If I would have been asked ten years ago, while I was in the forth grade, what I would be doing when I was older, I would have said that I wanted to be a marine biologist. I wanted to explore the deep oceans, I wanted to “save the fish” and I wanted to learn how organisms lived in the water when people were impacting their homes.
If I would have been asked seven years ago, when I thought the world was a cruel and ugly place, what I would be doing when I was older, I would have said I did not know. I did not know if I wanted to go to college, even though it was a goal of mine ever since I could remember. I did not want to go to high school. I was not sure if I had any friends in this entire world and I had no clue what I wanted my life to look like…but, at that time, it was looking very bleak.
I was exposed to a job, a real job that I loved doing. I volunteered for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for the first time. I was outside almost every day. I was in different habitats monitoring different species. I felt, for the first time, that I was making a difference and living a life I wanted to live.
If you would have asked me when I was 16 what I would be doing when I was older, I would have said continuing this work, working for the BLM or some similar agency. I would have said I would be making a difference for the environment. I wanted to go to college and get a degree in biology to get a job where I could do that, and this view was kept until I graduated from high school.
If you would ask me today what I will be doing when I am older, my answer may seem strange knowing my past. I really do not know what I will be doing when I am older, but unlike when I was 13-14 years old, it’s for a different reason. There are so many things I wish to do in my life, that I do not believe I will have time to accomplish it all. I do not know what I will be doing, I do not even know if what I do will make a difference to anyone but myself. What I do know is this: I WILL be helping the environment in any way I am capable of doing it. I may not be capable of saving it, but I will do everything I can to help it. I WILL be doing what I love and what makes me happy, which of course varies from time to time, but still revolves around nature and helping. And I know this strange little fact that has occurred to me recently. All those short years ago, I thought I was or would be saving nature and the environment. However, this was and still is not the case–I am just returning a favor for something that helped save me.