Kimberly Ann

Program Manager, Atienza Kali

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What do you want to be when you grow up?

Remember when you always heard this question in grade school? Why don't people ask it when you're 30? Isn't it possible to do something else entirely and still have room to change your mind? So my question is, "What do you want to be when you grow up?

I recently asked myself this question at 29 and I realized that I didn't know the answer so... I started taking martial arts thinking that maybe I’ll try my hand at being a ninja warrior. I also started taking pilot lessons because I was always afraid of flying so I figured a career in aviation was the perfect way to get rid of my fear. These are just a few examples of things that I’ve done.

My suggestion would be to go and find something daring that forces you to think like a child once more to discover what will truly feed your spirit and make your life fulfilled.

  • Jul 13 2013: I want to be a real person. I want to have real integrity.

    I want to be a person who KNOWS what I SHOULD do, actually DOES what I should do, and ENJOYS doing it.
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    Jul 13 2013: This is a good question.
    When I left home to go out and seek my fortune, I can't remember the different things I tried to do. I can't remember the number of places I tried to do it. There was a number of colleges and universities involved. Many states and several counties on four continents, I even got to visit a fifth. Most of what I did was.... fun!
    I never found a career and so I never found my fortune.
    So,as I look back, I had fun and fun is more fun then fortune..
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      Jul 14 2013: I have't found wealth but I've found wealth in the quality of friendships I've created. It's been a blessing. :)
  • Jul 12 2013: I think what you're doing is great Kimberly.

    But Kimberly, I think more and more are doing it, you only need look at the boom in online education. People are realizing that there is a world of opportunity out there, and there is nothing to fear. Change can be great, it can free you up, and show you worlds, and experiences you never knew about.

    I'm glad you had the courage to try. I hope this conversation encourages others too.
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      Jul 12 2013: I believe that the MOOCs may offer their biggest advantage to the avid lifelong learner
      • Jul 12 2013: Absolutely Fritzie :)

        Here is a web site that lists them....
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          Jul 14 2013: I also like that top colleges are now putting webcasts of some of their courses online for the general public to view like Harvard and MIT. It's a great "open source" opportunity!
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    Jul 12 2013: Hi Kimberly,
    It looks like you are relatively new to TED conversations? Welcome:>)

    My friends and I ask each other this question often, as a playful way to remind each other that we are kids at heart:>) My "play group" (friends I bike, hike, sail, ski, with) was recently featured in a magazine article entitled "Play with kids your own age".

    We are all "retired", and there is absolutely no reason to stop being as active as possible, as we have been throughout the life adventure. I changed directions several times, as did most of these other folks, so I know it is possible and enjoyable. I have always been curious, and that seems to be one child-like quality that motivates change and exploration:>)
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      Jul 12 2013: Yes! Very new. I just started posting this week. Boy I've been missing out! Can you send me a link to that article? I would love to read it. I love that you continue to explore in life! It's so inspiring :)
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        Jul 12 2013: I think/feel that is what the life adventure is all about Kimberly.....exploration:>)

        Here's the link to the article. You have to scroll down a bit because other things have been added.
        Look for the yellow shirts and the title "Go Play with kids your own age":>)

        Here's another one you might enjoy....she's one of my role models:>)
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          Jul 12 2013: The photo reminds me of something I mentioned to my husband while riding in the car this weekend. In my youth the vast majority of people one saw running or bicycling on the street or park were children. Now the vast majority of those one sees running or cycling in bike or park are adults.
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        Jul 12 2013: I think that's true Fritzie! It seems like the kids are not out "playing" as much as we were when we were kids. And the old geezers and geezeretts are living longer, more active lives:>)

        Did you read the second article about Elsa? She's 100, legally blind and down hill skiing!!!
        I LOVE IT!
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    Jul 11 2013: Kim, I am 70 and have retired from the US Military, General Dynamics Aeronautical Division , and the State of Arizona ... I would hate to rush into what I want to do .... give me a few years and I will make a decision.

    I still jump (love it), fly, a man tracker for the search and rescue team, write for the local paper, coach football, basketball, and track, on the Civil Emergency, Response Team, writing a book, and a very proud and involved grandparent. My wife says I am the only one of her kids that did not grow up and move out.

    Is that you at the stick in the photo .... You go girl ..... I like it .... whatcha flying?

    I wish you well. Bob.
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      Jul 11 2013: Hi Bob!

      Nice! How do you get involved in response team work? That sounds like a blast! Sure is me, I'm flying a Cessna :)
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        Jul 11 2013: CERT Teams are funded through FEMA. We respond nationally ... such as to Katrina and Sandy. Our team is through the Sheriff in our county.

        If you can't get info let me know and I will work it from this end.

        Me to ... a Cessna 150 tri pacer. Do you still have a fear if you are not at the controls?

        I wish you the sun at your back, fair winds, cheap quality fuel, and a clear sky. Bob.
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      Jul 12 2013: Robert....I love that!
      Your wife says you are the only one of her kids who did not grow up and move out!!! Precious...makes me smile:>)
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    Jul 11 2013: I think you are smart, Kimberly, not to define your life path narrowly. I have always encouraged students to educate themselves in a variety of areas so as to have maneuvering room to change and add things over time.

    A surprising number of people even in their forties and fifties exclaim that they do not know what they want to be when they grow up. It is a question people continue to ask themselves even if others are not asking them.
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      Jul 11 2013: Thank you! I find that I get so much more inspired by life the more I learn. I've never been so hungry for knowledge before. It's like a light bulb went off in my head.

      That is interesting that this doesn't happen until a person is in their 40s. Perhaps I'm just ahead of the curve? lol
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        Jul 11 2013: I did not mean to suggest people do not do this in their twenties and thirties. It is interesting, though, that you have never been as hungry for knowledge or learning as now. Perhaps once you had laid in the basic education and skills you needed for the sort of work you do, you finally feel free to do more wider ranging explorations.

        Many people are passionate about learning throughout their lives.
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          Jul 11 2013: I think mainly I was held back by a very poor relationship. When I made the decision to leave the relationship and live out of my car, that's when I found my eyes opened because I finally allowed myself to be well... myself. During that time that I was in that "blocked state" I absolutely relied on the basic educational skills that I needed to accomplish daily life. I absolutely now feel free to do more wider ranging explorations!
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      Jul 11 2013: I agree. I have come across countless numbers of people who have a very strict goal/outlook on life. In fact, anything that varies from that goal upsets them on a very deep/real level.

      I totally get that plans change that's for sure. I've come a very long way in the past two years from sleeping in my car to now have a great life. That doesn't mean it was an easy struggle but the lessons I learned have paid off ten fold.

      I would gather the best time to take a risk would be when you are older since you only have a limited amount of time left. For all intents and purposes I would rather die jumping out of a plan than choking on a marshmallow if you know what I mean.

      I found that through martial arts I have gained so much strength and agility. I had been a victim of domestic violence and over time with increased practice I have learned to no longer be afraid.
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        Jul 12 2013: Kimberly,
        Although I agree to some extent with your idea that "the best time to take a risk would be when you are older since there is only a limited time left", in my perception, it's also good to think about the fact that the body does not heal as fast when we are older. So if we do that jump, it may not kill us, but we could do lots of damage, which would make the rest of the time we have uncomfortable! LOL

        My friends and I agree that balance is important. There are certain activities that are not worth the effort anymore. I stopped water skiing last year for example because although I used to do it a lot, and am still pretty good on one ski, I only do it a couple times a year, and the consequences for the next couple days (upper body soreness) are not worth the pleasure derived the day before!

        Glad you got out of the violent situation:>)
  • Jul 16 2013: What do I want to be when I grow up? Begs the question - why do i want to grow up?

    When you see children play and learn, they accept each other regardless of race, creed or color. They invite people to create with them, they share with each other, they dont judge on appearance, clothes or hair. Their minds are free of prejudice as they paint outside the lines, they are open to new idea and better ways of doing things. They dont care if when they dance they look funny, they just enjoy the moment.

    So why do we insist on forcing people to grow up? - To be come cynical, corrupt, to grab what ever they can - irrespective of who suffers - where war, conflict, suspicion and spying become the order of the day.

    May just maybe what your doing Kimberly is actually finding the child inside you - not a bad plan at all.
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    Jul 15 2013: Lots of insight, wisdom and advise here so I'll add my 2c worth ... I wanted to a a ballerina-assassin.... Really.... I've (sort of) changed my mind - and now try help others'find their callings and laughter on
  • Jul 14 2013: I've always wanted to be an actor when I was younger. But then I realized it wasn't possible, because can't pronounce the letter R, so I wanted to be a film director instead. Now I've almost finished high school and I realized it is foolish to think I can't be an actor because of my small disability: I only have to make a little bit more effort e.g. taking pronunciation classes. However, now that I'm more grown up, I also want to make a difference in the world in my way. I want to do something that touch people. However it doesn't nessecarily have to be the whole world I want to touch, a group of people would make me happy too.
  • Jul 13 2013: A good question and very few people really know the answer. In my life I have met maybe two people who exactly what thewy needed to do like they were born to it, most do not. Think of how lucky you are if you knoiw this and can just get on with it without holding back or being indecisive. I still do not know after decades of working in a job I like but do not love. Maybe the solution is to do what you love and find life's joy there. Then the word work loses its sense of that thing you do because you have to to survive and feed the family etc. The problem comes when this knowing comes late in life, say after the age of 40, then noone will give you the opportunity to do this thing because you are considered too old. Maybe in this case you just do it anyway and see what happens. One man I can think of who did this is was Ted Hawkins, the folk-jazz artist who only made monet from his music when he was already over 50. He had that brief moment in the sun before he died, having done what he loved and also being successful. Listen to his beautiful Green Eyed Girl song.
  • Jul 11 2013: A writer.