On a cold, dark, snowy mountain peak, a young woman wanders along. It’s nighttime. She is dejected and lonely, feeling the pangs of her previous life weighing heavily on her. Reflecting on her past, she realizes that she has become a “queen” in this “kingdom of isolation.” She has driven a wedge between herself and her sister, Anna, and she knows what those back home must think of her.
After further soul searching, though, she concludes that, in the end, she is who she is, and that’s all that matters! With that, she throws down her purple cape, loosens her braided locks, and fashions a snowman and an ice palace out of thin air. With this creative flurry that she embraces, she belts out a tune as she builds windows, balconies, balustrades, intricate stairwells, and glistening chandeliers all with the touch of her fingers.
This is of course the famous “Let It Go” song from Disney’s Frozen (2013). Princess Elsa is the one who sings it. My 3-year-old niece absolutely loves Frozen! Although even that might be an understatement! She’s got all the toys and castles, she dressed like Elsa for Halloween, and she has also seen a live performance of it (with a friend of hers).
It’s always fun to think back on the different “phases” we all went through. For my nephews (one is 2-years old, and the other is almost 1), they’re phases are all colorful, shiny objects, trucks, and trains…basically anything that moves. I get it! That stuff is awesome. I remember how endlessly fascinated I was the first time I rode an elevator (it really was like an amusement park ride!) Roller coasters, magic, ski slopes, Rube Goldberg machines, and colonial muskets/tomahawks were all phases of mine as well (roller coasters, to some extent, still are).
I cannot understand the “princess phase” from a personal perspective, but it is of course a common one for many little girls, and it makes sense. Princesses are pretty and fashionable, high-status individuals! That’s what my niece loves about them (at least that’s my guess).
It’s a good thing that whatever these phases are, though, they are temporary. Not because the phases themselves are necessarily harmful or obnoxious. Instead, it is because the tendency to jump from one phase to another is a marker of what psychologists call “openness,” and openness is often a very good thing! Openness is a product of curiosity and wonder…. a proclivity to explore all different types of hobbies, interests, passions, cultures, places, and more.
What Should I Become?
As adults, we must narrow our range. We pick a specific career, as well as a specific place to live and a specific person to marry. Limited options. Switching from a baker to a mailman to an accountant to an attorney to a fashion model to an airline pilot and a professional salesman isn’t likely to happen (you could switch these eclectic vocations out with others and the statement would still ring true).
Anyone who has seen last year’s Oscar winner, Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022), with Michelle Yeoh, gets a drift of the feeling/experience at play. Parallel universes. “Sliding doors.” I imagine myself as a movie star…a martial arts instructor…an Olympian athlete…a corporate executive…a pirate…a 19th century London detective…a Roman general…a 14th century Incan chief…a cossetted millionaire…a 15th century Spanish explorer…a 1960s rock and roll star…a medieval farmer…a prince! Today my niece is Princess Elsa. Tomorrow it may be Pocahontas or Ariel…. or maybe it’ll be the Greek goddess Athena or a flying unicorn. Who knows.
To my niece (and nephews), though, play as many roles as your heart desires, while you have the latitude to do so. A day will come when you must choose only a few roles and “let [the rest] go.”