Perspective and How to Hug your 18-year-old self

Hello world! One of the questions I am asking folk in this big, bad experiment we know and love is this:

What advice would you give to an 18-year-old/to your 18-year-old self?

I love the responses. And as soon as I get done preparing for this awesome web series pilot, I’d like to put together a little film thingy of some of the great responses we’ve got.

One of the people interviewed was a lovely lady, Mackenzi.

Part wilderness woman/part sage and all writer, I invited her to expand her thoughts for the blog. I’m happy I did because she gave me much to think about. You’ll learn about her exuberant path, mind-mapping,

“What I want to be when I grow up”, a guest blog by Mackenzi Frederick

I played that game, and I bet you did, too, long before we could compile a list, years before we made our first pros and cons comparison, a decade and a half before exile from childhood and we had to then decide on just one self. Who did you become, in your imagination? What heights did you ascend to, what accomplishments that amazed all around you with your brilliance, skills, talents and feats of daring?

Where are you now, intrepid 30-something, bold 20-something, brave being in your 40s? And the rest of you, do you live in accord with the dominant paradigm, or follow a path of your own?

Last week I turned 36, and I yet again dream up whom I may be. I strive to always learn some new skill, to use another fraction of my brain, and right now it’s through the creation of mind maps. This, the invention of the Buzan brothers, employs the use of natural architectural forms, along with hierarchy, shapes, colors, dimensions and pictures, to structure and engage the mind to form or discover pathways in the brain, make available unexpected and brilliant connections. I hope this will help me reinvent my spirit, excavate a career and follow my bliss.

I study the arc of potential from who I imagined I might be when I ‘grew up’ to who I have been, who I am now. 

I study the arc of potential from who I imagined I might be when I ‘grew up’ to who I have been, who I am now. Numerous offshoots spring forth, copious as aspen volunteers, and in them I can see other aspects of origin that are more complex and varied than I can broach in a single blog entry. The scientist, archeologist, veterinarian, actor and Solid Gold dancer I aspired toward gave way to the reality of babysitter, horse shit shoveler and moving company drudge. From there, I obediently went to college to accommodate the expectations of my relatives, teachers and peers.

I filled up a passport, reconsidered college, dated across a spectrum of Europeans, wrote in my journal, dabbled in poetry and started several novels.

That sense of duty kept me in a private college for a year, long enough to see that I had no clue who I wanted to be – and I was growing up! – and to begin to rack up debt. I abandoned school, determined to experience growth and figure matters out, and thus began another era of experimentation as to who I could be in the world. Mainly I drank, smoked and danced my way along the edge of a chasm through my early 20s, but along the way I earned a wage as a grill cook, salad and smoothie chef, Irish pub chip cutter, tea lady, and then washed dishes, cleaned houses and temped under various guises. I filled up a passport, reconsidered college, dated across a spectrum of Europeans, wrote in my journal, dabbled in poetry and started several novels.

http://www.terawarner.com

When I moved to Taos, New Mexico, I discovered my outdoors self – she who had spent half her childhood scampering through the forest, in the trees and on the ground – who wanted to play outside for her work. I learned to ski and guide rafts through the whitewater, and my winters and summers for the next ten years mixed the two as employment. I was quick to see that both teaching skiing and rowing rafts down the river bring more spiritual and emotional satisfaction than monetary gain, so I went to massage school to learn a trade. That six month intensive program left me burnt on touch, and some notion of completion drew me back to university.

http://www.legendsofamerica.com

Yes, I would graduate from my sojourn there, fulfill that aspect of the American dream, and collect another $15,000 in debt to complement the twenty grand I had acquired that first year of school. My degree? The fine art of reading and writing, something I had already been doing daily, voracious as a book worm, since I learned how to read in elementary school. I graduated and began to work as a massage therapist, dabbled as a magazine writer and editor, and still spend most of my time engaged in the art of living as if I may never grow old.

So, here I am now, relocated to another mountain town to change the vibration of poverty and my own stagnant no-go-flow, and I again attempt to reinvent myself in the game of what shall I be when I grow up. As a teenager trying on identity for a good fit, my influences were 80s pop stars, replete with bold and mismatched colors and prints. This quirky juxtaposition marked my sense of fashion, my personal style, and my attitude toward identity – so I know I can be a massage therapist who is also a writer, who also loves to play outside and travel, who lives in a vintage Airstream in one of the spendiest little towns in America.

Yes, I have a heap of school debt, but these days it’s a garment I keep in the back of the closet, and only don when I feel a bout of self-pity coming on. I have two college degrees I have so far used not at all, but I have a trade that pays the bills and lets me eat like the gourmand I am. Most of all, though, I have a gamut of experiences that not only make for wonderful lessons and memories, but are fodder for stories yet to be told.

My advice to those who ask themselves this same question? Go forward; do as you will, carry the knowledge of the past but not the burden of it. You decide who you can be when you grow up, no matter if you are fifteen or fifty-five.

According to my mind map meanderings, all signs point to go when I ask what I want to be when I grow up. My advice to those who ask themselves this same question? Go forward; do as you will, carry the knowledge of the past but not the burden of it. You decide who you can be when you grow up, no matter if you are fifteen or fifty-five. Read your own mind map and head in the direction of your own life’s fulfillment, no matter the detours, roadblocks and obstacles that seem to hinder your path.

http://www.facebook.com/project1979

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Comments
2 Responses to “Perspective and How to Hug your 18-year-old self”
  1. Rae Denman says:

    I love you and your words Mackenzie Frederick. I long to hear them in the same country as each other- one day soon x

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