Monday, June 28, 2010

I'm Thirty-Seven - Summary of an Exciting Year

What can you write about when it's your thirty-seventh birthday? It's one of those birthdays that is not the one when men buy a sports car (that's in three years, I think), not one that lets you start drinking (that's eighteen in Israel, by the way), nor it is one that is an impressive as my father's upcoming birthday - ninety years young.

However, last Friday was my first birthday of many things, as this past year was a year of beginnings. First came my renewed interest in space. I decided to poke my head outside of the lane I was in - software engineering - after a visit to Florida last fall. That visit, which was primarily intended as a starting point for a wonderful Disney Cruise with my wife, kids and parents, included an eye opening visit to Kennedy Space Center, which started a cascade of events.

In the following months I started forming connections with people interested in space, one of which is Brian Shiro - a geophysicist and astronaut candidate living in Hawaii. I also started writing this blog, describing my space-aspirations and perspective, sometimes drawing fire and disagreement, hopefully other times providing a bit of inspiration and making a difference for the people who read it.

Then came Starwalker, the little TV reality show that couldn't... What that show did do was to prompt me to get off my hardly-ever-moving behind and start running. After six months, two 5Ks (first and second) and Bolder Boulder, running has become an integral part of me and I don't intend to stop.

In February, luck stroke and not only the first Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference was set up in Boulder (easy for me to attend), but I also got to meet Veronica Zabala from Arizona who has been involved with many space related activities - LROC, NSS and others.. NSRC was a great way to see a lot of people and companies that are in this unique area called space, wondering how I'll get in.

NSRC was also the birth place of Astronauts4Hire which was officially founded and launched a couple of months later by Veronica, Brian, Joe Palaia, Ryan Kobrick and myself on the same day Yuri Gagarin changed the world forever by being the first human in space. Astronauts4Hire is already getting traction. Like any new non-profit organization in its infancy, it will require a lot of work and donations to succeed, but I really think it has the right stuff.

On May 14 I got the privilege to watch Space Shuttle Atlantis soar into the sky in a perfect launch from the NASA press site as one of 150 attendees of the NASA Tweetup. Amazing. On the same trip to Florida I had my first social run (with Brian), which I named the "Starwalker Memorial Run", as the first Starwalker episode was supposed to be filmed in Florida in May and entail a run.

What do I look forward to during my thirty-eighth year? Well, many things. As always, family comes first. With everything I've been doing, seeing my kids grow up and achieving new things gives me the biggest joy. Every step they take towards becoming everything they can be makes me proud. Other than that, I want to run faster, be successful at my job and extend my reach towards space through Astronauts4Hire - centrifuges, micro-gravity flights and pushing Astronauts4Hire forward.

I really don't know how this year will end up looking like, but I am sure it will continue to be a juggling act between being the best husband, son, Webroot manager, Astronauts4Hire CTO and runner I can be.


Laksen Sirimanne said...

Happy birthday Amnon, and best wishes for the coming year. Your blog and life aspirations are quite inspiring.

Guyguy said...

Happy birthday Amnon!
I admire your dedication and tenacity on getting to space.
I am following you closely and will be most happy to assist you any way I can.
All the best,

BrianShiro said...

Happy birthday, Amnon! It's certainly been quite a year for all of us! I'm happy to know you and have you involved in my life. Keep dreaming!

Arnon said...

Is it too late to say happy birthday?
Of course not!!!

Hey I had a good excuse - I was in the desert.

So happy ~birthday, best wishes, and send my love to everyone!

Norman Copeland said...

Hello Amnon, hopefully your training go's the way you plan or have trained for. Year 38 is an orbital year so get the most out of it!

Norman Copeland.

PillowNaut said...

Happy Birthday! And here's to many more blogging years, LOL... !

Anonymous said...

What a lovely family! (And even better wearing your Shuttle T-shirts!!) :)