Checking in on the Road Map to Life

photo credit: © Salim Photography/

Sometimes we just have to take a moment and reflect on where we are. Life is a long journey that follows an incredibly twisty and windy path covered in intersections and forks. With all the merging and splitting of our own personal highways with those that belong to the people around us, we can get confused at times, maybe even a little lost. That’s why we have to stop every once in a while and check our personal road maps.

Do you have a personal road map?

Don’t feel bad if you don’t. I didn’t for a long time. I didn’t even know that the idea of one existed. I’ve had a vague concept ever since I heard The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost about life as a giant highway. Even when I was spiraling with depression, anxiety and a general sense of ill ease, I had this metaphor floating around in the back of my mind. Every once in a while, when I had a glimmer of positivity float through the hazy cloud cover of stupidity, I’d start to think about how maybe I should look at where the road I was on led.

After enough time in the fog, the little bits of light that got through started to really illuminate the scenery around me, and I realized I wasn’t where I wanted to be, and I was headed in a direction I really didn’t want to travel. Once I realized where I didn’t want to be, I had to figure out where I did. It took a long time for me to piece it all together.

Knowing where I want to be

Looking back, now that I’ve started to get it all figured out, it was a lot simpler than I made it. For some reason I kept telling myself that I needed to pinpoint an exact point I wanted in life. Every time I thought I was closing in on that bullseye, I’d find something else that bounced around like a hyper energetic monkey and got my attention. I realized one day that all of my passions fell into a broader range. There was a theme floating around. It occurred to me that maybe I had my beam focused too narrow to be able to hit any target.

Taking a broader look

Why try to snipe the bullseye when hitting near it with a howitzer accomplishes the same goal. So, here I was, standing on a road leading to a place I knew I didn’t want to be. Without knowing exactly where I wanted to get, I figured I’d be best start heading somewhere. If it’s too cold where you are, head south. That’s a general direction towards being warmer, right. From there, you can start to figure out the next step. Do you prefer a dry heat, or a tropical heat? Dry heat? Okay, so Arizona or New Mexico? Each time you narrow it down a little more and head in that direction. Each time you get a little bit more narrowed to where you’ll ultimately be happy.

Once you know where you want to go, keep yourself headed there

Once you have a place to go, it gets easier to get some directions. You can start planning your goals for down the line. You can start making that road map for life. Now that you’ve got it in place, you just need to make sure you check back in on it every once in a while. Make sure you’re still striving for the achievements you want in life. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to take a moment and make sure you’re still headed where you want to be.

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