I have to say that I am a career-focused person. I'm not interested in climbing the corporate ladder nor (intrinsically) interested in making loads of money as an entrepreneur. When it comes down to career, I just want to feel that my accumulation of knowledge and skills have been useful to society to full effect.
When it comes to my SO... I want to share life with a woman who I admire, find comforting, has similar sense of humor as me, and mutually understand and support. I think this is by itself a very reasonable thing.
However, I suppose I can drift into the boundary with fantasy at times.
I will admit to being rather ambitious about the problems I think about when I study math and physics...the millennium problems, the problems of thermodynamics, cosmology, etc. are all problems I know to be out of my depth.
Also, the career decision I have made has its own set of unrealistic components.
The reality is that only a fraction of the people who want to study High Energy Physics actually make it into the field, and they tend to be extremely bright and capable at mathematics and physics.
Besides this, the compensation (monetarily speaking) is not going to be good (downright terrible when compared to what I have now).
As one final blow, I will likely be 40 by the time I even finish school.
For finding a companion:
I've never fantasized for more than a few seconds about being with a celebrity (it's an automatic response with almost any reasonably attractive woman, so it's nothing special)
But the main thing that a woman would have to put up with is my ambition in career...not in the stereotypical manner(I don't think)
Given the facts I stated about my career choice...I see it as similar to someone in their 30's deciding that they want to make music and their rock-band their career, and quiting a rather lucrative job to pursue it...with not much professional evaluation of the capabilities needed.
Who would have thought a couple of bicycle shop mechanics would conduct the first manned flight?
Who would have thought a patent clerk who couldn't find an academic post once he graduated would do some of the most important physics of the twentieth century?
Who would have thought a mediocre student, failed farmer, and loony alchemist would be the same person responsible for what many consider to be the pinnacle of scientific achievement?
Who would have thought the boy who "would amount to nothing" by his fathers own estimation, would create what would stand to be an amazing feat of observational science?
I believe we all owe it both to ourselves and to society to not just be "warm bodies" at a work place.
Some believe that if these "exceptional" people didn't do what they did, someone else would have. Perhaps not in the same form, but in some way. This is especially a prevalent view-point among managers. I call it the "warm-body myth"--the belief that just any old person can be found to do a particular thing.
Try hiring a circuit design manager (just any old circuit design manager who is capable) in less than a year and see how wrong the warm-body myth is. When it comes to people who do the exceptional things, this is even more the case. The truth is there just weren't other candidates around to do what these people did. A circuit design manager just needs to have experience as a manager and in estimating and removing roadblocks faced by a particular circuit design methodology...a somewhat rarefied skill, but not terribly so.
All evidence so far refutes the warm-body myth. Simonton did a study of "multiples" in science (multiple people "discovering" or "inventing" the same thing at the "same" time). He found that in all cases there was correspondence/sharing/stealing (advanced copies of papers, patent documents, etc). Real multiples just don't happen, not even when it comes to "mundane" science and technology. It is instead a large accumulation and communication of small ideas, but with each idea uniquely important in the chain of ideas.
It's an example of dynamical chaos. There is extreme sensitivity to initial (and other) conditions.
Which means, if you want to be the person who makes a key discovery, who need to be at the right place at the right time, with the proper background knowledge and proper mindset to make these discoveries.
Not surprisingly, those who make the key discoveries are also the ones who make the most discoveries (whether or not they are "key" or not) and also the same ones that have a larger knowledge base for their "combinatory play."