American astronaut Scott Kelly is several months into a big experiment confined to a small space in space. He’s spending a year aboard the International Space Station. All the while, he’s traveling 17,000 miles an hour, two miles above the earth. What a view. What a ride. Wonder if he gets homesick.
Of course there are perks beyond the view and the ride. I’m sure any number of NASA astronauts and regular-Joe space junkies think that they would love such an assignment. I bet his paychecks are pretty nice. He’s getting lots of press (cover of TIME magazine and much more) and in comparing his space stats with his earth-bound identical twin, some interesting medical and psychological findings may well benefit others. I’m sure he’ll write an interesting book about it, probably even hit the nonfiction- bestseller list, and chat on all the talk shows when the year ends.
But still. No matter that he is at the top of the pecking order for such a plum assignment, that the notoriety is huge, and no matter what happens or how he feels in the wilder blue yonder, for a whole year, he can’t walk away. Or walk, period. He can’t hug a wife, or shake hands with a friend, or go to a store. A year in space. Now that’s a commitment.
His situation makes me wonder what hard thing I would be willing to do if I knew I had to stick with it for one year solid, no matter what.
Would I be willing to go after a job that terrified me because it was both harder than I thought I could do well, and paid a ridiculously large amount of money, and it had a private office (isn’t that every woman’s dream)?
If a publisher offered a lucrative book deal, would I be willing to endure something difficult, bordering on impossible, for 12 months?
Could I do something drastic in the homemaking department like not buy anything that wasn’t food or bathroom tissue for one year?
Could I agree to eat one obscure thing, or not even obscure but dull thing for one year if there was a special incentive?
Would I agree to take a boring second job of some kind for 12 months?
What would it be like to work in a complaint department (customer service) for one year?
To be a newspaper carrier, in the middle of the night, for four seasons?
To completely leave my comfort zone physically and go on a mission trip where I had zero personal connections?
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to take a series of temp jobs for a year?
Attend a different church for 52 Sundays?
Write a thank-you note daily to 365 different people and mail them?
I don’t have those things as goals, and they aren’t on my bucket list. I just wonder what they, as examples, would be like and how life would be enriched, or not, as a result.
I’m curious if you have ever thought about what you would be willing to do—or what you wouldn’t.
My bottom line is that while I admire scientists like Scott Kelly, it sure would be tough to give up a year of life here on earth.
At the moment, nothing resonates with me more than the predictable moments and unpredictable joys of life on land. I love to go places and do things, but Dorothy was right: There’s no place like home.
What would you do? Would you go into space for a year?