I was in the physics lab at school, working really hard on an experiment that I could never get right. I had already spent 30 minutes or so on it and I was running out of time allotted for practice. I understood physics in the lab more than I did on paper. All those hours in the lab were something I truly enjoyed, until I got sidetracked.
To this day I can’t recall what was said to me, but it was a piercing comment in the moment. I began concealing my interest in that subject till I eventually lost the ability to focus on it.
At 16, you don’t understand that words are just words and that we don’t need to take it all personally. We are selfish at that age thanks to all the questions thrown at us about what we have planned for our future. No one tells us that the future isn’t just made up “me”, that there’ll be more people than things in our lives and that we often become the least of our priorities.
If I had known that I matter in the larger sense of the world, I would have bounced back and loved what physics had to offer. The silver lining here is that I don’t regret it; I am thankful for where it lead me. I started writing about my feelings around this time and I loved the process of looking for words to better express what I was going through. I fell out of love with physics and fell head over heels for words and all they brought with them. I lost focus, but saw something else when I regained it.
In this fickle world, it’s easy to put someone down with minimal effort, but it takes so much to dust it off and push ahead. Kindness is underrated, but it’s the best tool you can wield. Teach it to yourself, to your kids, to those you come in contact with by showing them what it looks like. I have my ways of keeping in touch with physics like an old acquaintance, but it will take a while before I light that extinguished spark.
Meanwhile, I light it for others. In my line of work, I get the opportunity to counsel students on career choices and identifying strengths and weaknesses. Even if I can help just one student pursue their interest, I’ll be content while I hope to reach out to more.
Reader. Learner. Dreamer.
I am all about the little things in life!