I admit it.
I have an astronaut crush on Chris Hadfield.
Likes millions of others, I first learned of Hadfield during his time as Commander on the International Space Station in early 2013. His blend of good humour, intelligence and humility—as well as his rocking use of social media—drew me in.
And his rendition of David Bowie's Space Oddity from space capped it off.
I've just started reading his book An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth. He was nine years old when he watched Neil Armstrong step onto the moon, and says he determined to work toward being an astronaut that very night. What I find very interesting is that he recognized early on the chances going to space were, well, astronomically against him.
At the time, Canada didn't have a space agency and only US citizens could get into their space program. That didn't stop him from following a path that could lead to space, should the opportunity come up. But he was careful to choose a route that, should space flight never come to pass, he would still consider his life well-lived.
I think that is a vital lesson for all people to learn, no matter what their stage of life. We've all heard of people like Hadfield who have seeming impossible dreams, and yet achieve them. But what about those that don't reach their goals? Does that make their life any less important? Of course not. But while we strive for those far-reaching stars, it is important to keep our feet on the ground, and realize that today, right now, is where our influence lies. Tomorrow may never come, and if so, our present must be as rewarding and fulfilling as we can make it.
Never let the hopes of the future make the present less than it can be.