Friday, August 16, 2013
Column Throwback Week #5: What does the map of your life look like?
I've been fascinated with maps since I donned barrettes as a wee school girl. By maps, I don't mean those imitations you can readily get on Mapquest or those GPS thingies. Those are fake, or at the very least, maps for novices. I've spent many a car trip huddled in the back seat with a sprawling atlas draped over my lap. I became transfixed, lost in a world of places and monuments. It was as if I dived head-first into that atlas. The smooth white pages. The colors -- blues for the lakes, greens for the forests and browns for the mountains. I marveled at the open expanse of Montana. My eyes glimmered at the bustling eastern seaboard. And my heart beat just a little extra when I stumbled upon a black dot next to my hometown. I even thought of the people in each town. Who they were. What they did. What life was like in a town of 500 people. Yes, I had an intimate relationship with my maps.
But other times, like maps, you find your life in the cracks or the creases of the map. You can't exactly see where you're going. You feel lost. You may even feel scared as you lose your sense of direction. The sun is setting. It's getting dark. And nothing around you looks even remotely familiar. But just as you meticulously smooth out that rough map, before long, you see the city lights looming over the horizon. You breathe a sigh of relief as you instinctively know you're back on track. Like maps, sometimes you're all by yourself, like a desolate spot in the Arizona desert. Other times, like in New York City, you're surrounded by people. You welcome them with open arms, laughing into the wee hours of the morning with friends or having intimate Sunday brunch chats with your mother over a cup of hot coffee. You realize a good balance of the two is exactly what you need.
[Photos via We Heart It]