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Boldly Going (again)!

June 18, 2013

Space: The final frontier
These are the voyages of the Starship, Enterprise
Its 5 year mission
To explore strange new worlds
To seek out new life and new civilizations
To boldly go where no man has gone before
How many of us are familiar with this opening line to a popular television and movie series? In 1966 Star Trek began an experiment of Gene Roddenberry’s to combine science-fiction with the waning popularity of westerns to ‘explore new horizons’ in entertainment. His experiment lasted for three seasons, but in syndication gained such popularity that it is still producing movies that gain box office success almost 50 years later. I too find myself embarking upon a new ‘voyage’ in my life, going where I have not gone before in the hopes of not only learning new things, but beginning a new career. As with Gene Roddenberry’s career in entertainment, I have ‘explored’ new horizons both as a child and adult, but each new beginning fills me with some anxiety mixed with excitement and hope (in most cases) for a better tomorrow.
Growing up we moved every two to three years as my Dad was career Navy; it afforded me ample opportunity to explore new places and experience people and things I’d not done before. From big cities to small towns, jungles to rural America; in the changing vistas of my childhood I experienced much of what makes this country great in its people and cultures, so even practically from birth I was “…exploring new worlds…”
As an adult this ‘exploration’ continued when I emulated my Dad by joining the Navy; I travelled to a variety of places while in the Navy, covering both coasts of this nation as well as several different places overseas. Learning new things in the military is often a bit more stressful than in the civilian market as the pressure to perform as part of a team accomplishing a mission is heightened by the realization that we are serving in roles that could take us into harm’s way as a matter of course. The most exciting (and terrifying) part of that ‘exploration’ was when I began my first patrol on a nuclear submarine, the U.S.S. Lafayette. To be in the engineering spaces (I was a nuclear-trained electrician helping maintain the nuclear power plant of this behemoth) and hear the command to dive (with the accompanying “a-oo-gah” ringing throughout the ship) and then hear the air vent from the ballast tanks and then hear quiet as the ship slipped beneath the waves was incredibly exciting the first time and even subsequently. Of course, being in a VERY macho place like a nuclear submarine (women in submarines now…who’d of thunk?), we didn’t let on to each other so we just went about our business with feigned casualness and aplomb.
Beginning new adventures continued after I got out of the Navy in 1975 including working as a nursing assistant, becoming a paramedic and registered nurse with the work in the pressure cookers of a busy big city (Tampa, FL) emergency department or out in the field with the challenges of silly people running around with automatic weapons or gasoline bombs; yeah, some grey hairs added to my noggin there as well. However my biggest and most life-changing ‘adventure’ began involuntarily in September, 1987 when I was indicted and placed in jail pending trial. Six months later that trial did occur and I was remanded into the custody of the North Carolina Department of “Correction” (yeah, sure). Nothing could have prepared me for what I would see, hear and experience in the next 23 years, 7 months and 25 days (but who was counting?), but early on within the confines of Central Prison (a really cheerful place to visit…really, such wonderful companions to share your daily life with) that I began the greatest and most challenging ‘exploration’ yet when I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. That adventure is ongoing (much like the seemingly never-ending syndication of the Star Trek television and movie series) and that adventure or journey continues to take me where I’d not gone before in self-exploration as well as giving me new vistas in the world that I’d previously overlooked. Self-discovery can be as terrifying as anything I’ve experienced, but it is a journey that, once embarked upon, cannot be stopped.
Yesterday I began yet another journey of exploration, this time with the pre-licensing class at the Go School at the Go Realty office in Cary ( Chris Barnette is the instructor and he is a ball of fire, but conveys his passion for a career in real estate into an easy going style that keeps your attention and motivates the students to ‘go’ on with their studies. This is a journey that I can say I am (as usual) a bit nervous about, but excited to begin wondering what new vistas it will open up to me. Warp 7, Mr. Sulu!

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