I'll start off by saying we're happy with life. We consider ourselves blessed, and don't intend to change anything for now.
But don't you ever get that feeling of "What if...?"
In the couple of months, I've received some correspondence.
2 were emails inviting me to submit a manuscript to 2 medical journals.
1 was an invitation to speak at an obesity conference in Asia.
Years ago, when I was an ambitious endocrinology fellow with the mindset of an academician, I'd jump on it. To be invited means your work is being acknowledged, and you are regarded as being knowledgeable in a field of medicine. It's a huge ego boost
(though in this case it was probably the result of a Google search to try to fill up open slots for the conference, as they seemed to be reaching really low in the barrel)
I was tempted. I really was. I thought about the days when I actually enjoyed spending 2-3 hours every day for a month, researching papers and writing a manuscript. Deftly working with Endnote (note to would-be authors: don't try to manually type out the references. When you dealing with 30-50, it's a killer). Having your mind flow to try to present your case, and to put it on paper (well, keyboard). The high you get finally realizing your manuscript it ready, and how it feels to hit the Submit button on the journal websites. And the total euphoria getting that email: "Congratulations, your manuscript XYZ has been accepted for publication..."
But that was another life. That was another me, with different priorities. At that time, the need to be as productive academically as possible. With little other obligations.
Now, it's a whole different world. One that revolves around our princess, and my queen. It's a different kind of work, with no allowances for 'Research Time' or academic trips, as that doesn't pay the rent. It's a different life.
Not that it's better or worse or anything. Like I said, I'm happy. But admittedly I do catch myself sometimes wondering, what if I had gone into academics instead?