Life is a journey not a destination. I don't know who said that but I love it. It is easy to get caught up in the race, the race to do more, be better, faster, richer, thinner, etc. etc. Our culture in the U.S. is based on competition and comparison. You don't believe it? Look around at the huge amount of money that goes into sports, athletes and promoting lean, fit, hard bodies and what they can achieve. There is an obsession with youth, glamour, wealth and appearance.
As I learn to accept life more as a journey in it's entirety and not a race to be won, I feel better able to relax in the flow of life, realizing that the experience itself is of greatest value. Some may see the experience as striving to achieve the greatest highs, winning the most awards and gaining fame or notariety. With the focus on making the "best" life by achieving benchmarks which society perpetuates as worthy. I'm not opposed to that, although my experience is that a focus on doing and achieving is often a life looking for the next thing and the next and not living in and appreciating the present moment with all the splendor it has to offer.
I know that I came into this life with a desire to do all and be all that I could be. Not in a competitive way but more with a focus on experiencing and learning. This obviously looks different for each individual. I'm not the athletic type so I didn't want to win Olympic gold medals. I am too rebellious for the traditional path of education, even though I thrive on learning. I've attended years of college, however I always questioned 'required' courses which didn't seem to apply so I didn't receive a diploma. I've definitely done life my way.
In my youth I felt impatient to grow up and get on with living my life the way I wanted to live it. This led to getting married at age 16 and having my first child at 17. I had three children by age 20 and by age 30 had self published a book that sold over 100,000 copies. I've never believed the rhetoric that people recited to me about being on a certain path prior to achieving success. What I'm referring to here is the path that society has outlined for us such as a college degree, or doing life in a particular way.
I am a big believer in following your inner guidance and forging your own path. This can be difficult and challenging at times but as I look back on 50+ years of living I wouldn't change a thing. All things have given me experience, even the painful and not so great moments. I can't compare my experiences to anothers. I have done life my way, guided by what I valued at the time. Doing the best I could with my understanding in each moment. I didn't want to live by anyone else's rules. Personal growth has always been a theme.
I don’t think I have ever thought of my life’s path of being a life map, but I really like that term….life map. I remember asking my MawMaw , when I was about 4 years old, “Why do you think God made me not walk?” My MawMaw was a simple, very hard working woman, a kind & loving Christian woman, a woman who lived her entire physical life in poverty, but her spiritual life was filled with overflowing riches. Her answer to my child like question has been a guide for me all my life. I wish I had told her that, but I don’t think I was aware of it until she had passed away. She answered me like this,, “God has jobs for each of us to do when he puts us here on the earth. Sometime we never even know what that job is, but for whatever job God put you here & has you walking on crutches, that is the way he means for you to do your job.” Plain, simple, to the point just the way I could understand it as a child. It made sense to me & I don’t think I ever questioned it again. It also never bothered me. Now, that’s not to say that there were not times that I wished I could walk like everyone else, but those times were fleeting. I did not dwell on them. My mom & dad raised me with the mantra that, ” if I wanted to do something bad enough, figure out how to do it, even if it is different from the way everyone else does it”.