Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Little Life Cartography

Let me be honest with you right up front here. I'm not much of a future planner anymore. I'm not a "fly by the seat of my pants hippie live life in the moment" person either. I'm somewhere in between. I have a 401K, I have a 15 year mortgage, my husband and I want to start a family, I think about the future. But not a lot. And not in great detail. After about age 21, when I realized that everything I had expected, planned, wanted, worked for might not happen in the tidy trajectory I'd imagined at 16, I kind of stopped planning seriously. I set long term goals like buy a house, get married, advance at work, but I rarely think past 3 or 4 years forward. I think this will change when we have a kid, and so in an effort to think a little farther forward and not dread the process, I signed myself up for Blogher's latest book, My Life Map. (I was totally compensated for this review, but they let me have my own opinions on this book, they're nice like that at Blogher.)

I love maps. I love little work books. I love analyzing myself. So I loved this book. The purpose of the book is to use the guided chapters to sketch out your past, think about your present and then use that information to help shape the choices and decisions that will effect the next chapters of your life. This book begins by having you answer some specific questions about yourself in major categories like Work, Study, Family, Friends, Play, and jot down major events/players in each area of your life from birth to today. It's a fascinating process to distill all the years down into the most impactful, important, lovely and painful moments and use those answers to help clarify and prioritize where you want to go next and what you need to do to get there. I'm enjoying the process. I'm not rushing it. I'm taking my time and thinking through who I'd like to become, what I'd like to experience and accomplish in the next five, ten, fifteen hell, even forty years of my life, if I'm lucky. Somehow having this simple, joyful tool makes the future seem a little less far away, a little less arbitrary and quite a lot more fun.

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