I spend probably too much time on Facebook. It's been great fun for me to get back in touch with old friends, and is useful for keeping in touch with family. One thing FB does is to tell you when your friends' birthdays are. Today there was a little notice saying I had two friends with birthdays. It is the birthday of my graduate advisor, the person responsible for getting me into graduate school this last time. She definitely took a chance on me, and I am grateful for that.
It's also the birthday of another influential person, Bob. If I hadn't met Bob when I was a senior in college, looking for a Biology class to fill one more requirement, I might not have even pursued a PhD. It's funny how you meet people in life who, as you look back, you see that your life went in a particular direction after that.
I enrolled in a course called Animal Behavior. Bob was in this class, as was a guy named Phil, and the three of us were education majors. We often worked together, and these two non-traditional students really opened my eyes to some possibilities in life. They had both returned to school to finish their degrees, and had lived some. I was a 22 year old inertia-driven student who wasn't so sure she wanted to jump right into a teaching job after she got done with her degree.
Bob was/is passionate about the outdoors: nature, photography, the environment. Passionate. Discussions with him led to my going to graduate school (the first time) to study the behavior of juvenile bald eagles. He put in a good word for me when I applied for a summer job where he worked, and later I got a full time job at this same park. Working at that park led me to the desire to return to school to study native plant genetics, which I eventually did do for my PhD. He was the best man in my wedding, as he and the x were quite close, and we and Bob and his wonderful wife Denise did a lot of fun stuff when we lived in that part of the world. Yup, Bob was a big influence.
So, Happy Birthday, Bob. I wish you many more.