Lately I've been thinking a lot about maps. Not the new maps, the ones that no one but a machine can fold back up properly. The old maps, with crazy misspelled names for things, and pictures of sea monsters on them. The ones that were originally drawn as they were experienced; a visual journal of an amazing journey. These maps were so magical, imbibed with the artist's hope and dreams, fear and pain. Everything that came with journeying into unknown territory for so many months. Can't you just imagine it? You've left your home and your family behind. You are on a a large ship, probably a Fluyt or a Merchantman. Constantly moving across the plane of the water, the ship creaking back and forth with each peak of a wave. The coils of rope rustling creaking with the movement of the sail. That's all you would hear, for months.
Most of us probably feel that we don't know what an epic journey like this would be like. We see them in movies, or on television. We read about them. And it's true, most of us will never get the chance to go on a voyage to an unknown place. Unless there is an Astronaut reading this, or something.
What we all need to consider, when we romanticize times like this with movies like Pirates of the Caribbean, or books like Treasure Island, is that we are already on epic journeys. Our lives are our journeys. We are all going into unseen territory as we move forward through our lives. We are all pushing through unknown waters, moving to new experiences like getting married, buying a first home, starting your own business, having children. No matter how old we get; no matter how experienced we are; we all feel a little thrill in the pit of our stomachs when we embark on a new adventure in our lives.
We need to start treating our lives with the respect that we deserve. We need to treat our lives like the amazing experiences that they truly are. Instead of focusing on how much someone has hurt you, or how hard a time you've had, consider where you would be in your life if these things hadn't happened. If you hadn't been in such a hard spot, would you have had the fortitude to do whatever it takes? If someone hadn't hurt you, would be a weaker person? Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves that parts of our lives haven't lived up to our expectations, we have to look at whether or not we lived up to our own expectations while experiencing those times. Even if we haven't, all of those experiences, the failure as well as the success, has brought us to where we are in our lives at this time. Each decision we make is a change in direction, and each new direction is a chance for us to grow.