This I Believe

Kelli - Logan, Utah
Entered on December 6, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

The sun is beating down on the driveway as you pack the last bag into your car; you’re finally ready to go on that road trip. You climb in and pull out of the drive way- when it dawns on you that you don’t know the way to get there. General direction won’t get you much farther than the edge of town. However, before you start to panic, you dig in your glove box for your answer; a map.

I have a belief in maps, they provide what we sometimes cannot, direction. They serve to guide us and shed light on the not yet seen, maps reassure us what is to be expected. Without them we all would literally be lost and really wouldn’t venture much farther than out of our comforting surroundings or homes.

I have been lost in my life on frequent occasions, getting bogged down with all the directions open to me but never sure which one is the direction for me. Will I like it? How can I be sure? Or will I regret it? Even if I knew my direction I would be lost without a way to get there.

Life has many little road trips that you only hope leads you to somewhere you want to be, however, there are far too many pit stops among life’s highway, they are unforeseen and inevitably change your direction forever. We are all going somewhere, shaped by our experiences and life’s lessons, however maps can show us how to get back on track and get to our destination but from another route.

Maps first originated from numerous travelers taking notes, analyzing and measuring areas, exploring, and I’m sure getting plenty lost. Once the information was gathered, the comparison of information would either be compatible or would need further exploration. Throughout the centuries man has done a wealth of exploring, on all the continents and even our moon. Not all maps have routes or roads we will ever travel on, but having it on a map is somehow a victory over the area. The land or space is now submissive to us, humans obtaining constant supremacy.

Literally, maps can be just complicated folded pieces of paper that get worn on the edges or have coffee stains in the most important areas. Maps have also been quite wrong on infinite occasions, yet we have become more than dependent on them. Today, our GPS’s and our satellites would suggest that we are never truly lost, however what dictates being lost? Not knowing where we are without a map? Or not knowing where we are on the map? First, we need a destination, with a destination comes a plan on how to get there, which is where the map’s role comes in. But who’s to say when we get somewhere, it’s where we really wanted to be?

To me, maps are symbolic of life. Planning and preparing for big journeys in our

Careers, relationships, and families all contribute to us getting down the road. Life’s map is too immense to be able to decide where we are going to end up from the beginning or even when we are just a few miles out. Uncertainty is a part of life, without this aspect, life would be a straight road with no flat tires; engine problems or detours and we would all reach the end together. Luckily that is not the case. Everyone has a map at their disposal, but not everyone uses it, maps are planning ahead, taking the time to weight decisions and consequences. But luckily, not everyone plans ahead. You can’t plan ahead to invent new technologies or medicine. Or for that matter, you cannot plan for a debilitating accidents, or emotional jarring situations. Life is unexpected and I’m glad it is; only the opposite is certain, death.

I’d like to think I only look at my map when I’m truly lost, alone, unhappy, and no progression for the road I am on. Turning to my friends and my goals for answers I reassess, and make the correct speed adjustments and exits. Life is uncertain, I’m still unsure of where exactly I want to end up, but that’s why we have maps, and u-turns.