If you asked me what I wanted to be when I was 5, I would have said a veterinarian. When I was 18, that changed to a teacher. Now at 29, I am happy in a job measuring technology issues. Just last night, however, I told Greg, “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up”. Throughout life, I’ve had a number of jobs, dreams, and life situations that got me to where I am today. Each experience led up to the present and the present will lead to the future. Kate and David Marshall have the perfect book for me (and others) trying to figure out the “what’s next” question in My Life Map: A Journal to Help Shape Your Future.
[Photo Courtesy of Penguin Books]
This journal serves as a tool to look at where you’ve been and what you hope to do. It’s good for people at all life stages (because, obviously, life changes from day to day, year to year). There are prompts throughout the book that have you look (workbook-style) at experiences, patterns, and ambitions. It’s a great tool for doing some self-examination and finding a purpose in the next steps.
“When should you start mapping your life? Start at any time, at any age, whether you’re in your twenties or in midlife contemplating the second half of life.” (page 8)
I appreciate the types of questions within the prompts about the past because they got me thinking about parts of my life I wouldn’t necessarily have thought to include in an exercise of thinking about my future. For example, the prompt “What was your favorite room in the home you grew up in? Why?” got me thinking about how this room made me want to be a teacher. (My favorite room was our attic play room, a space where I could “teach” my stuffed animals arts and crafts, songs, numbers, and letters.) I wouldn’t have thought about the connections unless I was asked, and I am glad I was asked! It also is serving as healing from some of the significant experiences in my life (losing my best friend to cancer, dealing with an abusive relationship) and helping me think about how those things will drive my next chapters.
(How much do I love this included quote? “Turn your wounds into wisdom.” – Oprah Winfrey, page 31)
This book will be a great guide for me as I figure out the next steps in my life—do I want to crunch numbers every day for the next 40 years, no, but do I know for sure what the next big thing is? No! My Life Map will hold the secrets of my hopes and dreams—including family, friends, learning, work, service, and playing. These things will eventually (throughout the years) come to fruition if I continue to aim for my ambitions.
What are you waiting for? Are you ready to take a stab at mapping your past, present, and future? My Life Map: A Journal to Help You Shape Your Future is available for $16 from Gotham Books (and will definitely be on my holiday gift idea list).
Causes Kate Marshall Supports
Project Second Chance, an adult literacy program run by the Contra Costa County Library system in California.