It’s been a while since I sat down to write something here, but a thought struck me this morning while waiting for the bus. It’s my birthday today, so that put me in a little bit of a thoughtful frame of mind as I’m heading in for a normal, busy, and stressful day at the office. I saw a Coca Cola truck lumbering up the hill while standing at the bus stop, and it put me in mind of where my dad was when he was about my age now. That was about the time when he was driving a Coke delivery truck around southern Colorado and northern New Mexico.

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So, when I think about my job that I sometimes love and sometimes hate, I think about my dad and where I could have ended up in my career. My Pop took a fairly rambling path through careers and life – starting as a starving artist, moving on to truck driving and other labor jobs as he had a family to care for, and eventually going back to school, earning degrees, and finally retiring as a college English professor.

Sometimes I think I’ve rambled a bit as well, but I’ve never had to drive a truck for a living. I’ve occasionally had the whimsical thought that I might be happier in such a job, but that’s not reality. I’d be just as bored and unfulfilled with that line of work as my dad was. So, on my birthday today, I’m grateful for the job I have, the struggles I will face today, and the interesting and unique challenges I deal with and contributions I get to make to the world of earth system science. I’m also really grateful for my dad and all the sacrifices he made along the way in order to give me and my brother and sister the opportunities we’ve enjoyed to make our own way in the world, including the privilege to not have to labor in a lumbering truck driving up the road to deliver goods somewhere.