In the course of commenting on posts over the last while I've noticed commenters frequently say something along the lines of "I'm not here to ..." or "I didn't sign up for this job in order to ..." or "I didn't come here to ..."
Well, what DID we sign up for? Why did we become academics? We all had choices; why did we choose this? What was it about this job that made you think you wanted to do it? I bet we all have different reasons and I'm curious to know what they are.
For me, it wasn't the teaching, though I enjoy teaching for the most part, but I never thought about it when I was an undergrad, or even really in grad school. It was, partly, the research, though I have to say I don't enjoy actually writing things down, and only do it under duress. But what I really liked about it was partly "the life of the mind", as that xtranormal video says - the idea that I could spend my life tracking down interesting ideas and seeing where they went. What a great way to spend your life! I thought, and when I do get to do that, I must say I have not been disappointed.
The other thing I'm here for is of course that I get to hang out with other people with the same priorities, who also thought 'the life of the mind' was a keen way to go.
As for how I picked my particular specialization, well, see the diagram below: