“…I thought that life was a matter of figuring out the answers to questions and that was that. Now I’m learning that good answers lead to better questions, and that the cycle never ends.” Physicist Frank Wilczek
I am always asking questions. Always wondering, as it were. One of my favorite phrases in the whole world is “I wonder why…” I say this so often that it drives some of the non-questioners in my life bonkers. Fortunately, there are others, like my dad, who get it because they, too, are wonderers.
We’re the people who aren’t content with seeing something odd or unusual and letting it go. No, we’re the ones who say, “I wonder why…” and then finish the sentence with any number of queries. Knowing this about myself, I tried to count the number of times I wondered something this morning. The questions ranged from, “I wonder why the birds are cranking it up so early this year?” to “I wonder what the heck my upstairs neighbor is doing up there, again?***”, to “I wonder why two pairs of leggings in the same color from the same brand fit so differently?” to “I wonder why that guy behind has his brights on?” In other words, nearly everything that I do, see or say in a day is something that could – and often does – prompt a question.
I like to think this is one reason that I love my job so much. If you don’t know, I’m a faculty member at a University. I do teach, but the other big part of my position is research. Asking questions that I try to answer either through the literature or doing studies of my own.
And I love it. I really, really do. What an awesome job – they pay me to ask questions! It’s the ideal career for a chronic wonderer. One of the best things is that my colleagues are also likely to be wonderers, so no one rolls their eyes when I pose new and (to me, at least) interesting questions. Another best thing? There are so many questions that I could – and probably will – work for as long as I possibly can, and I’ll never, ever get to them all. The best finding from a study is a finding that makes you say, “I wonder why….” It never ends, and I love it more than I can say.
I’m fortunate that I’ve been able to turn something that I do naturally into a career that pays me (admittedly, not as much as if I’d stayed in the position I had right out of college…no, seriously…) to do one of the things I love the most. Time to get another day started. Time to see if I can find some more answers.
“Don’t just go through life. Make it a point, instead, to acknowledge mystery and welcome rich questions–questions that nudge you towards a greater understanding of this world and your place in it.” ~Nipun Mehta
**Note: My upstairs neighbor, I believe, jumps on a pogo stick while juggling bowling balls. Seriously. Sigh.