At first when I was thinking about this prompt, I was thinking just in terms of buildings. How do buildings affect me? Mmm.. river of creativity running dry.
Then I realized the designed environment is a whole lot more then buildings, or architectural structures. Really, everything is "designed" in some way or another. My sweatpants? Designed. The paths around Calhoun? Yep. This amazing spicy black bean enchilada I'm about to nosh? That's designed too. Even you and I are designed; weather you believe we were designed divinely or through science, there was definitely a design process there (Ozayr - your hairy arms are just part of the master plan! You'll regret shaving them - don't).
OK.. so the designed environment is pretty much everywhere around me. Now that I think of it, I can't really think of much that wouldn't classify as part of the designed environment. How does it affect who I am, and who I've grown up to be? How will it shape who I'll be in 10 years? To tackle this, I can break it down to PAST, PRESENT, and FUTURE.
Back in the day - I grew up in Linden Hills in Minneapolis. I spent a lot of time outdoors, playing at the park or in our yard. My next door neighbor was my best friend, and we were always making up new games and adventures. We got matching red unicycles for Christmas one year and practiced riding them around the block.
So, I'm 18 - I can vote. Wow. I'm a distance runner, a veg[etari]an, and a self proclaimed tree hugger. I still spend a lot of time outside, although I've outgrown that unicycle. It went home with a little wide eyed 9 year old boy at our yard sale this summer. I went through lots of changes through middle/high school, I'm sitting here in my first year at the U of MN, and I'm transferring out next fall.
10 years down the road - A whole lot could happen in the next 10 years. Let's just go with my ideals: I'll have made it through all my "architecture school", have my own [successful] firm that promotes human and ecological health by doing all "green design". I'll have built my own house (check the mag!), and Ed Begley and I'll be buds. I'll also be running Re-Juve (see previous post), not to mention running, in my spare time. I'll have 2 or 3 kids.. or 7. I haven't decided yet.
Now, here are some realities of the designed environment that may affect how I turn out:
1. The school I'm transferring to is way more than I can afford. I haven't gotten my financial aid package from them yet. I may not even be able to transfer If I don't get enough money. College is designed to bring in money, and colleges with bigger names often tend to have a bigger price tag.
2. I've been considering the possibilities of going into psychology. I'm sure I could do great things, regardless of what road I take, but I have to question where I will be the most happy with myself in the end. Luckily, college was designed so that students can change their mind, and change their degree. Not so lucky - it's STILL designed to make money. They don't reimburse you for a degree you got, but won't use.
3. I have endometriosis and it's very possible that I could never have kids. Fortunately, doctors are doing research on what can be done to make this chance less probable. Hopefully, someday, someone will design a medication to cure endometriosis, instead of just treat the symptoms.
Of course there are many, many other things that will happen over the course of my life - none of which I can predict. However, I look at the framework of my life right now - what I'm doing, my relationships with those around me - and the time I have in the next few months (clockworks) to make some very big decisions. These will all help determine where I end up life. And really, what greater phenomenon is there than life?