The Road Not Traveled….Walking, Chemistry, and Writing

I’ve been trying to walk every day for thirty minutes during my lunch break.  I’m lucky to work in an office building that sits directly on Indianapolis’s downtown canal.

Looking at my office building from the canal.

Looking at my office building from the canal.

This week, it’s really hot, but I’m also lucky that the heat or cold doesn’t have to curb my walking.  I can walk for thirty minutes or so in a loop through tunnels and skywalks that take me from my office through Circle Center Mall and the Indiana Convention Center.  So I have no excuse.  I don’t really need one. Walking makes me feel good, so that’s why I do it.

A benefit of the indoor walk is being able to see the conventions that come through the Convention Center.  It amuses me to try to figure out what group is convening when I see people walking through the mall with convention badges.  (One of my favorites is the firefighters’ convention, in late April, but that’s beside the point.)

This week, the American Chemical Society is meeting at the Indiana Convention Center.  The ACS Banner I saw on my inside walk.

The ACS Banner from my inside walk.

As I realized what convention it was, I had mixed feelings.  If I had taken a slightly different life path, this could have been my professional convention.

For reasons I’m now a little embarrassed to admit, I was a Chemistry major in college.  From what I can figure out now, I became a Chemistry major because I thought it would be easier to meet a guy. The ratio of men to women in science classes was so much better than in other majors.  I went in “Undecided” but fairly quickly settled on Chemistry. But I realized that lab work wasn’t my forté when I broke piece after piece of equipment and racked up a major bill during my organic chemistry lab.  My professor told me if I got an A on the final, that I wouldn’t have to pay it, and by God, I did.  But Chemistry was never really my “thing.”  I did all right.  But I wasn’t passionate about it.  I learned enough to teach it in high school.  But teaching was never my “thing” either.

I realized much later that making choices about what to do with your life based on whether you think it will give you a better chance to meet men, or if that major will be more marketable than other choices, will only lead to hating what you are doing.  And if you hate what you’re doing with your life, you’ll never be emotionally healthy enough for a relationship.  At least I wasn’t.

I didn’t feel regret for becoming a Chemistry major when walking through the ACS convention. If I hadn’t majored in Chemistry, I might not have worked in the environmental field, and if I hadn’t worked in the environmental field I might not have become interested in law school, and if I hadn’t gone to law school, I might not have had the courage to admit that I’m really a writer.  That path led me to where I am now, which is a very good place to be.

I just felt wonder, at the secret writer-girl I was, who was so desperate to meet a guy that she majored in Chemistry!  Chemistry, of all things! I’m amused now, thinking about it. But I’m also glad that this writer-girl isn’t secret any more.


2 thoughts on “The Road Not Traveled….Walking, Chemistry, and Writing

  1. Nan Harvey

    I’ve lost count of the (mostly poor) life decisions I’ve made because of my desire for a romantic relationship at any cost. No more. It took a lot of years, but it’s good to be through that part of my life. Thanks for sharing this. I admire your courage (always have!).


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