Saturday, March 22, 2008

Reality Slap

Yesterday was a sad day for me. I pride myself on being a realist and reality finally caught up with me. 

I was hiking (like I do day after day) on my transect when all of a sudden I stopped. I stopped dead in my tracks and I had this feeling. It was a horrible feeling. I thought. I pondered. And this thought entered into my head: "Is this it? Is this really what my life has come down to? Is this really my purpose here? I thought I was special. I thought I was meant to be someone important..." 

So is this really it? I graduated from college with a degree in something that I love. But is that enough? I can't do this for the rest of my life. I can't go away for ten days at a time and hike 14 miles a day. I can do it physically but I can't do it emotionally. I studied anthropology because I love people. I am a people person. I have a lot of friends and I love being around them. But my job stops that. After hiking all day I'm tired. I am physically and emotionally drained. I don't feel like going out and hanging out with my friends at night when I am this tired. I could never meet anyone and get married and have a family when I am working this crazy schedule.

Thats not just it. I always thought that I would do something special with my life. I always thought I had potential to do something great with my life. But being an archaeologist isn't it. No one cares about archaeologist. What have we ever contributed to society? What will I ever contribute to society? 

I always knew I would go to grad school but I'm having a hard time deciding what I want to specialize in. Either way I'm going to be in debt (20,000 dollars a semester is not cheap) and I will be for the rest of my life because Archaeologist (and any other profession connected to archaeology) don't make any money. 

Don't get me wrong, I like my job. But I just can't do it for the rest of my life. Unless I want to be some kind of hermit and live in a shack in SLC for the rest of my life.

I guess this all came from the fact that I look around me and I see other people being successful:
(1) Some of my friends are graduating from college with amazing job offers 
(2) Others are getting married and starting families
(3) Some are finding out what they love and are getting direction in that
(4) Others are going to Law school, Medical school, Dental school, or other grad schools right out of college.

I want that. I want to know what I want and I want to go and get it. I just don't know what that is yet. I'm not getting any younger. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My Phobia

What is a phobia? Contrary to popular belief, a phobia is not just a fear of some outside object. A little girl being afraid of a spider or a snake because they are "gross" is not a phobia. Campers being afraid of a bear in their camp is not a phobia. It is a little bit more complicated then you think. 

A phobia is an irrational and uncontrollable response to an outside stimuli. This results in (depending on the person) the body producing high amounts of epinephrine, thus causing a "fight or flight" response. A panic. 

The key words here are irrational and uncontrollable. 

My experiences: 
I've always gotten a strange adrenaline rush and butterflies in my stomach whenever I saw large spiders (especially tarantulas) in movies. For example, I have a hard time watching the scene in Lord of the Rings where Frodo is being chased by a giant spider. Or in Harry Potter when Ron and Harry are almost eaten by all those freakishly large spiders in the Forbidden Forest. 

I first realized how bad my phobia was when I went with my cousin to pick up her child at kindergarden. I went into the classroom because my cousins kid wanted to show me their classroom "pets". She first showed me the bunny rabbit (it was so cute) and then she wanted to show me the other classroom pet: a spider. I took one look at it and I stumbled backward and froze. The tarantula was in a cage and I was completely safe but I was still a little shaken up.

Last year at field school I came across my first wild tarantula. I was sitting in my tent and I saw the silhouette of a giant spider crawling on the outside of my tent. I froze to the point that I couldn't even scream. After a few seconds I got up and ran out of my tent.

And now here's the story which prompted me to write this blog: A few days ago I was hiking and I came across a real, wild, running tarantula. After screaming at the top of my lungs, I ran. And then it happened: my body went into a complete panic. I felt sick. I was hyperventilating. I was crying uncontrollably. My body was shaking. I felt like the spider was crawling all over me. My lungs started to tighten up and I felt like I was going to pass out. I had experienced my first panic attack... and guess what? It was at work with 3 people who don't care about me. So what happened next? I sat on the ground and cried and just let my panic take the best of me while my co-workers starred and made fun of me.

The problem with phobias is that people try to calm you down by saying things like: "Its ok. Spiders are nice" or "They won't hurt you. You are bigger then they are". I know that. I know that the spider is not going to hurt me. I know that I am bigger. I know... I know. That is why it is a phobia that I have and not just a fear. I could not control my response. I could not control my reaction. I look back on the situation and I feel stupid and embarrassed. It would have been nice to have gotten a hug or some kind of positive encouragement during my panic (which I suggest you do if you see someone having a panic attack), but hey you can't always get what you want.

The thing that people don't realize is that 18-20 percent of people have phobias like this. Its an anxiety disorder and there is nothing to be ashamed of. The funny thing is that some people won't ever find out they have a phobia because they may never come across the "trigger" like I did. Well at least now I know... I need to steer clear of tarantulas. Simple.

Friday, March 7, 2008

My job just gets better and better

Not to long ago we were recording a Historic (50+ years old) Sheep Camp Site (which consisted of a little corral, some rusted sheep shearers, rusted cans, etc.). This got me thinking about what exactly sheep herders do. My field supervisor told me that they were probably Bask and the herders would travel around with their flocks for years at a time. The man would usually be alone with a few sheep, dogs, and horses. Well, there is nothing more exciting then seeing archaeology come to life! While we were walking we came across this crazy sight:
That is not snow on the hill side. Those are sheep! Hundreds and hundreds of sheep! The black spots are dogs (there were about 10 of them), and to the far right is the sheep herder on his horse.
This is a better shot of the man on the horse and the dogs rounding up the sheep.

So my day did not end here... As we continue to hike we suddenly hear some loud noises. I assume it is the jets (see above post) that usually fly above us, but this time it was a helicopter! All day long they kept flying back and forth over us. This one got about 50 feet above us and I managed to get a good shot.
But wait! There's more! I also found this: 
This is a flare from a F-16. In battle, when a jet is being followed by a heat-seeking missile they will drop these flares in order to divert the missile from the jet and hopefully the missile will hit the flare, hence saving the jet. The jet were practicing right over us and I found one of their flares.

My job rocks! : )

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Our own person air show

I am currently working in the middle of nowhere... seriously there is nothing out here in Tooele, UT. It's the Barren Wasteland, my friends. We hike and hike all day, we maybe come across a rusted can or a glass bottle, but other then that there is nothing to see out here. 

But this week things changed! I saw a new born baby cow! Yes that's right! This is the highlight of my job (ok I'm joking). This cow JUST gave birth and we were able to catch a glimpse of its baby! It was so cute and I had the honor of naming him Lenny. So Lenny was just barely walking when I took this picture... he's a little wobbily, but he's learning! : )

So here's the real highlight of my day:

Not to far from where we are hiking there is an Air Force Base and these beautiful F-16s fly over us all the time! Its crazy! We are constantly having to cover our ears because they are flying so low over head and a few times we felt "sonic booms"! If you have never felt one its a pretty strange feeling; it just hits you in the chest and knocks you over a little bit but it is totally worth it. 

Today we got to see a dog fight (thats when the jets circle each other and do flips and all types of maneuvers to get away from each other... or something like that). The jets got really close to the ground and we all just stopped walking to watch the show.

So, finding rusted cans is not so boring after all... But it would be nice to find some prehistorics once in a while : )

p.s. Here are some pictures from work

View from the top of the world! This is my tribute to Delta, UT.

This is how I look everyday. I found the safety goggles while we were working close to an active limestone mine in Delta, UT. I wear them for protection against the sun and other natural elements.

Since I get all dirty and dress like a construction worker everyday I figured it would be nice to show how much of a lady I really am.