Sometimes I feel as if my life takes place in a secret garden full of winding paths, dead ends, and exquisite surprises. I’ve been lost in this garden quite a few times but also found brilliant inspiration, blooming possibilities, and paths that have led me to incredible places. PBS published a remixed song out of quotes and sounds from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood (http://youtu.be/OFzXaFbxDcM) that sums up this whole analogy (plus Mr. Rogers is wicked cool). “You can grow ideas, in the garden of your mind,” he says.
Thinking back to my childhood, I wanted to be an artist, a marine biologist, and an environmentalist. I used to paint rocks and sell them on my street (or try to) so that I could donate the money to an environmental organization. I once adopted a whale and a tiger with the proceeds. Dreaming up comic book characters, music shows, and art projects with the neighborhood kids was a daily fair. There was always a new thing to learn and experience.
Fast forward through an engineering degree, two stifling cubicle jobs, a sustainable design certificate, a master in landscape architecture, another miserable cubicle job, tears, questions, confusion, and guilt for spending so much money on an education I didn’t want to use. I wasn’t at all living the life I had imagined. Somehow, along the way I had lost sight of what I wanted and I was living my life being practical and on other people’s terms. Although I felt passionate about my landscape architecture degree, the day-to-day realities of the profession had turned my beautiful mind-garden into a dull, flowerless place. Something had to change.