Dear Space X,
In a few short years, my husband will be retiring from the Air Force, and I will be throwing in my apron as a stay-at-home mom. He will egress from the cockpit of his fighter jet after 20 years of service with the anticipation that I will reintegrate with the public in a newfound career. With the starting line growing closer, I am training for this event by determining my interests, questioning my qualifications, and really thinking about what I want to contribute to the world.
So where does Space X fit into my marathon journey of self-discovery? I don’t know.
What I do know is that my interest in space is the only thing my husband and I have in common, aside from our four children. It’s the only thing we both get excited about and can discuss without a heated debate or a snooze fest. Politics? Don’t get me started. Baseball? Pass the overpriced peanuts, popcorn and Cracker Jacks.
We are both in awe of space and the accomplishments of those who have made space travel possible. No surprise I married a pilot, huh? So let me get right to it.
Ask me the differences between Star Wars and Star Trek, I can tell you.
Who was the first American female astronaut in space? I can tell you.
What’s on the golden record? I can tell you (some of the things)!
Name the person who said, “We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people.” I can tell you.
What is the flying car’s name in the Harry Potter books? I can tell you!!
The last book I read to my husband on a family trip was Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s Astrophysics for People In A Hurry. He drives and I read. Yes, we actually do that. I become the Audiobook.
We’d rather watch another episode of Cosmos or the next season of Mars than a romantic comedy together. My husband and I bought takeout and skipped my sons’ karate class so we wouldn’t miss the Falcon Heavy launch in February. We curled around the computer to watch Starman being torpedoed into space while listening to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” Did you know I was born at an Air Force base? Yes, I definitely think Space X or even NASA is something I want to be a part of. But how?
OBJECTIVE, EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE
I noticed in the career portal, Space X is looking for engineers. Lots of them, in fact. Well, I don’t have a degree in that. Admittedly, it seems as if I am completely unqualified for any position available at Space X. My degree is in Journalism/Mass Communication, and I’ve had some experience in Marketing-specifically copyright, graphic design and the buying/selling of media. However, that was fifteen years and four babies ago. Naturally, my brain has turned to mush, which is why I’m going back to school to get a Masters in Public Health. Why Public Health? I want a career where I feel like I’m truly contributing to society, and ultimately I need a degree I can get online.
In two years, I will be armed with a Masters that is supposed to launch me into a career such as: Municipal Park Director, Program Coordinator/Director for a Park Service or an Extension Agent in health and human services. I could even become a proprietor of a private recreational facility if I wanted, but I can’t convince my husband to open up a theme park. Why not?! It would be SO fun! I could also get a certificate in Safety Management or Addiction Intervention among other things for an additional $550 per credit hour. So where should I spend my husband’s hard earned money? What degree will land me a job putting people on the moon or even Mars?
ORGANIZATIONS AND VOLUNTEER WORK
Speaking of that degree. I had to list a lot of extra-curriculars on my curriculum vitae just to into grad school. I’ve been active in military spouse groups and church groups. I’ve volunteered to make bushels of cookies at Christmas, stitched blankets for babies and organized children’s parties. That has to count for something, right? I’ve offered up my artistic abilities for free in the past, but the last semester of grad school requires that I get some “field experience” in public health. I thought this would be a great opportunity to see what internships this nearly 40-year-old could find at Space X or NASA. After all, prolonging life and promoting human health, along with becoming an interstellar community is what going to Mars is all about. I could finally get a house slipper in the door!
There’s an issue though. The field experience portion of my degree has also been a concern because we are currently living overseas. My husband is an Exchange Officer for the Royal Air Force in England, and we are scheduled to move during my last semester. Naturally, that is when I’m supposed to be getting much needed experience in my newfound career. So where should I do this field study? We don’t even know where we are going to be at that time.
Who will take care of the kids when I’m doing this field study? No matter where we move, it will not be close to family. My youngest daughter cried when I told her I was going back to school.
“Who’s going to take care of me?” she sobbed. Ugh, the challenges of a military spouse trying to go back to school or re-enter the work force!
This leads me to my other concern about working for Space X. The kids in the Space X program look like they are all 18 to 20 year-olds. Well, my drivers license says I’m double that. Now, I realize that the future of space ultimately lies in the hands of young, brilliant minds. Well, what about those of us who aren’t so young or brilliant, but want to be a part of something incredibly exciting like the development of space travel? What can I do to inspire a new generation of dreamers AND engineers?
As a military spouse, I’ve developed some extra qualifications and experience. Plus, it seems that as a mother, being an Epidemiologist is simply a part of the job just like scheduling, decision making, problem solving and active listening.
So, Space X and NASA, listen up. I have some ideas!
I could wipe down the rockets with Clorox wipes and rub out the skuff-marks with magic erasers. I could yell, “Be careful!” when the engineers climb too high or mess with dangerous materials. I could design and distribute “Team Space X” t-shirts and cheer from the sideline of Launch Pad 39A. I could sell Boring hats or flamethrowers to the crowd. I could plan the launch parties and organize a game of Bunco while we wait for countdown to commence. I’ll even bring the casserole, dessert and a bottle of wine! I could read, Astrophysics for People In A Hurry or Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to the next manned crew OR Starman who journeys through space. As a novice novelist, I could write a book about it. Or a blog post. Or illustrate the children’s book. We can call it “The Boring Book.” When my kids all become teenagers, I might even volunteer as the test dummy to be sent into orbit. The possibilities are really endless for this non-engineer.
What do you say? Is there a career for me yet?
A 29+ year-old, Boring Military Spouse
Footnote: Entrepreneur, engineer, inventor and investor Elon Musk is CEO of Space X, The Boring Company, Tesla, Solar City among other business ventures. He has no idea who I am, and this post is in no way endorsed by Space X. I’m just a fan and this post is all in good humor.