Besides being one of the best David Bowie songs ever, it’s what we did last night, said hallo to the spaceboy Richard Garriot. We headed to the imax theatre downtown for a night of all things astronaut-y. First, we watched a 3-d movie filmed shortly before he went up to the space station.
Wow. Just wow.
I spent the whole movie feeling like I was 10 years old, alternating between my mouth being agape, and a shit-eating grin on my face. Zliten is a space nut, we used to fall asleep watching the Nasa channel in San Diego, any space documentary, he’d just be glued to it. Of course, I think space is cool as hell and I’d love if in my lifetime there was commercial flights to the moon. But seeing it in 3-d (and wow, 3-d has gotten better since I was a kid) was just… awe inspiring. Words just cannot describe how cool that was, so I’ll just stop babbling about it.
Then, Richard gave a presentation on his background, his involvement in the privatization of space travel, and his experience training for and going up to the space station. I knew his father was a cosmonaut, I knew he invested in it, but I didn’t know he was one of the founders of the x prize, and I didn’t know how dedicated he had been to wanting to be an astronaut all his life. I knew a lot about his video game history, but it was pretty cool to hear more about the space part of his life. Ya know. Someone I’ve met. Someone Zliten has actually worked with. Someone that I’ve done a dive off his second floor balcony jump spot into his pool at a party has also gone into space. Somehow, the millions he’s made in video games didn’t really starstrike me the way this did.
I guess what I could take away from this is – if this guy had the dream of going into space, and found out that he couldn’t do it in the capacity that many could because of his eyesight, he just kept trying to create another way. He could have just been accepting of his fate, but he wasn’t. Someone closed a door, he just kept knocking on all the rest of them. Sure, he came from a cosmonaut-artist-scientist family, but he’s obviously not just a trust fund kid. He was making a company in his parents basement in college selling his video game in college when I was getting myself into debt drinking and partying.
I sometimes – not regret because I love where I’ve ended up – but wonder where I would have ended up if I would have taken some different roads. I could have gotten into some really good schools with my grades and scores, but I couldn’t decide where to go so I just stayed in town and went to the state school in Reno. I could have continued on with gymnastics and seen where it took me, same with diving – I was actually offered a small diving scholarship and spot on a college team which I turned down for various reasons. I wonder what would have happened if I would have stayed on with SOE and in San Diego (just a little, that’s one decision I’m pretty sure I made correctly just for health reasons). If only I had a “what if” machine…
However, it really hit home last night that a lot of doors I’ve always thought were closed to me at the ripe old age of 29 – well, they’re only because I think they are. I’m probably not going to try to take up gymnastics again pushing 30, but nothing is stopping me heading to a pool and getting back on the diving board. Maybe I could even be the one to start an adult diving league here in Austin. Same with all the other fun/active things I used to do before I left college, became a sedentary blob, and packed on weight.
It’s a really good feeling to be going into my 30’s (my birthday is March 3rd by the way) lighter and fitter than at any other time in my life since I quit gymnastics. I actually think I might be stronger in different areas, I surely have never been able to run 5+ miles before in my life. As my resolutions definitely enforce, I just need to figure out what I’m going to tackle, and focus!
And hey, maybe one day I’ll go to space too. I hear that you lose weight up there. Bonus!