In a recent Tyler Oakley video (I have a whole entry planned on why I think his videos appeal to people from all walks of life) about his new vision board, he said something that really jumped out at me.
There is no final version of myself.
– Tyler Oakley
It struck me first as a parent of a son off at college. He is having a completely different college experience than the one I expected…getting involved in groups I never thought would have appealed to him. But then, I thought back to my own college experience and acknowledged I did the same thing. And then I stopped a minute…pushed “FAST FORWARD” on the last 20 years of my life and thought Holy Shit. There have been a lot of MEs in the last 20 years. And thank GOD none of them were the final version of myself. If I think back to Middle School Zoot, probably the first Zoot that tried to define herself in any way, there have been at least 15 full version changes since then. And then slight modifications of those versions along the way. I’m probably working on Zoot v15.6 now. I’m expecting the 15.7 release to be a small one in early 2015 that has me finally achieving the Grand Slam goal I’ve been dreaming about.
Sidenote: Middle School Zoot totally identified herself as the girl who Reads A Lot And Makes The Best Friendship Bracelets And Also Knows How To Do Crazy Frenchbraids. Those were my three defining characteristics. At least my self-defining characteristics. The horribly cruel boys at my summer day care would have called me Zoot Who Has Terrible Acne, Wears A Headgear, And Only Has Four Sets Of Clothes And Therefore Must Repeat At Least One Outfit Every Week.
It’s crazy to think about…isn’t it? How the person you might be today would blow the MIND of you of the past? I remember when I got pregnant at 18, I kept thinking back to the high school me who was NOT far behind. I kept thinking, “If she could see me now, with a BABY, she would FREAK OUT.”
But this concept…that there’s no final version of ourselves…is BRILLIANT. I love it. Because I can look at certain versions of myself in the past and know for a FACT that the version of Zoot back then, would not have believed today’s Zoot is possible. And do you know what that means? It means that maybe there’s a future version of Zoot that might shock the Me of Today.
In a good way, of course. I have no desire to take up the life of a Ramblin Gamblin Willie when I turn 40.
I mean…look at that reference right there. Ramblin Gamblin Willie is a folk song that Bob Dylan recorded in the early 60s. I used to be a total Bob Dylan hipster and would brag about knowing the music of his that the casual fans didn’t know. I took E to see him in concert when he was 3 or 4 and he was on my shoulders screaming, “Play the Willie Song!” and I was so proud because everyone else wanted him to play All Along the Watchtower but my preschool kid was wanting the folk tune he covered 40 years prior.
Bob Dylan Hipster Zoot had NO IDEA that Ultra Running Zoot was in her future. And there were a lot of Zoots along the way that might have been as much of a shock. Obsessed With Harry Potter Zoot is the only one that probably would have shocked no past version of myself. Those books were basically written for me. Even 2-year old, Poops On The Floor Zoot would have predicted that.
And as crazy as it is to think about how shocked I would be at the me of today, it’s so EXCITING to think about how it relates to the next 15 years. I didn’t even consider that Ultra Running Zoot was a possibility. Hell, running a 5K in 2006 nearly killed me. There is no way in HELL the girl who ran 52 miles in one day was in my future. That was 8 years ago. This transformation started 3 years ago. So, basically in a span of 5 years I found a path to be a Zoot that 2006 Zoot would not have believed existed.
This concept really gives me some silver lining to focus on with the recent news of Donnie’s company relocating and the risk we’re taking not to move with the company and hoping, instead, to find another job here. We could have seen him with that company forever if it hadn’t moved, he loved it there and he loved the work, and now? We have no idea what the future looks like after this summer. We have no idea what versions of ourselves are looming ahead. And I’m choosing to see this as the potential for awesome.
So, today I’m going to celebrate the fact that there is NO FINAL VERSION OF ME. At no age or time does today’s Zoot have to be the last version of Zoot. And – even more exciting – is the fact that I might not even be able to FATHOM what tomorrow’s Zoot will be like. I wake up every day with tiny sparks of ideas of things I want to do or try and I will remind myself that following those sparks like, Maybe I’ll sign up for this boot camp people are talking about…, can sometimes plant the seed for a new version of myself that I wasn’t even expecting. Because no version of me is the final version.
There is a lot of liberty in that idea, and I choose to celebrate that.