Mobile scientists and the personality collage

People don’t change. Well, people also divide roughly in half (?) in the opinion on that matter. And yet, I believe we… grow. We evolve. We acquire tastes and habits. Reaching my 30s, I can’t help to wonder wether it is the property of the past 10-15 years of my life, or wether it continues on, into the old age. I suspect the latter.

How much we evolve and enrich ourselves, depends on how much we expose ourselves to. All the books, movies, plays. All the travels, people, events. Some of us consciously and carefully plan it. Being a lab-stuck scientist, one probably plans it even more. Wasting time feels like a heavy sin.

But another property of being a scientist is the never-ending (?!) mobility, that drags you and throws you from place to place, country after country. This vagabond life wears some off. I feel it makes me thrive. I love the new places, I love to learn and experience, it makes me feels alive. Somehow the fate has spared me the home-sickness so many people develop when abroad. Being European, I feel much more a Europe’s citizen these days than the citizen of the country I’ve left a few years ago.

What this mobility means, though, is that you keep picking up pieces and patches of the cultures you experience. Even the itchy and uncomfortbale at first, may well become familiar or even your habit.

The first cultural shock is always… well, a shock. You came to a new country and never even imagined that people could possibly behave and think in ways other than your home society. But in every next place you’ll live or visit, you will already anticipate those differences. You might even become curious of them, welcome them, observe, take mental notes for later (the last being possibly a science-specific behaviour).

Conclusions? Just opinion: I think it’s good. It makes you a more complex, but richer person. It surely costs you an identity crisis every now and then, but personally – I love it. Because you are what you make yourself into. And so maybe we do change?


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