Friday, January 20, 2012

On Becoming An Astronaut


After my 6th grade speech at the
Mesa Public Schools Space Shuttle Simulator dedication,
receiving an award from the American Helicopter Society.
(I'm that goofy young one on the right ;-) 


Today is a big day for me. In fact, I have been awaiting this day since kindergarten. I have been preparing for it since 3rd grade. I have focused my life to aim for it, and somehow not be consumed by it. I have had many meetings which have only worked to confirm my commitment. I have never wanted something for so long, or so intensely.
And now it is here: the first time I am eligible to submit by application to be an astronaut.

It is kinda a big deal.

At least to me.

And while I am beyond excited that my credentials and mental efforts have brought me here, I am in another way preparing myself for the guaranteed rejection letter. It is truth that a sentence containing the words "Diabetes" and "Astronaut" will be quickly followed with "Disqualified" - at least right now. But shifting paradigms is the essence of my personal life goals. My kindergarten dream was to become an astronaut, my diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes when I was 11 forced a shift to be the first Diabetic in space, and my current dream is to chip away at the boundaries little by little to make "Diabetes" and "Astronaut" live comfortably in the same sentence - someday.

If I don't try my best to break the medical barriers of spaceflight, who will?

So it is a careful balance - wanting something bad enough to fight for it, but being reasonable enough to realize your inherent limitations as only an individual, a confined catalyst. Do I want to be an astronaut with all my being? Of course. Am I willing to stick my neck out there and fight the current? No doubt. Have I molded my life in such a way to actively change the ideas NASA has relied on for years? You bet your ass. Am I smart enough to present logical research and solutions? I would like to think so. Do I think the title of "Astronaut" is in my future? Well, I'm not so sure.

But I'm willing to try my best to find out.