Here’s what’s up with the BlogHer Book Club these days: My Life Map: A Journal to Help You Shape Your Future by Kate and David Marshall. Not so much a book to read, but to work through, you know, like a workbook.
When I got the e-mail announcing this title, I was all in to review it. “This is for me,” I said. “I could use some direction.” I couldn’t wait to start making my life map! And then it arrived. Twenty pages in, I hid it away in my desk drawer. Turns out, mapping out your life takes some effort.
The publisher promotes the book by saying, “Kate and David help readers map their road of life by reflecting on the past, evaluating the present, and dreaming of the future.”
Well, who wants to do that? I mean, the words reflecting, evaluating and dreaming make it sound nice. But I don’t reflect on the past so much as worry about it. I guess you could say I’m evaluating my present when I’m worrying about it. And the future? WORRIED ABOUT IT. I really had to adjust my head space to use this book.
I am so glad I did.
There’s a whole lot to be gained from taking a start to finish view of your life. The “thought-provoking prompts and questions” that laid it all out weren’t always easy to answer, but they revealed so much. It’s easy to to lose sight of where you are when you’ve got your head down and are working hard just trying to make it day by day, which is how I’ve felt lately. But I found that I’d really been minimizing all that I’ve done and had no bearing on how close I am to meeting many of my short-term goals – goals I haven’t been willing to look past. (Let’s be honest, it’s hard to dream about a family vacation when you’re struggling to keep the heat on. What will life be like when the kids are grown up? I can’t imagine what life will be like when they can all poop in the potty.)
Turns out, I’ve done a lot in my life that I’m proud of, I know what makes me happy and I already have what matters most to me: a loving family. The things I get hung up on worrying about, when all mapped out, are such a small part of my life. This book helped me put all of that in perspective and made me feel like it was okay, even reasonable, to dream about the future, like it is absolutely possible and that I will not always be right here, in this spot, with these worries. I needed that.
Want to learn more about this book? Join the BlogHer Book Club discussion.
Causes Kate Marshall Supports
Project Second Chance, an adult literacy program run by the Contra Costa County Library system in California.