The difference between those maps and the map of your life is that the "future" is fixed on those maps; the towns ahead will not move or disappear, the stores in the mall will be there when you get there. Life is certainly not that predictable but what we both know is that right now, this minute, YOU ARE HERE.
photo: Created by Anton Leroy.
get some paper - it can be one of those long rolls of banner paper for a printer or a ring binder or journal - and a box of crayons or felt tip markers in different colors.
Make a big red "X" for right now on your paper or in your journal, leaving room to the left of the "X" for your history.
Now, starting at the left or "history" side of your "X" put in significant dates and events as far back as you can remember and as few or as many as you wish. Put the good events on "peaks" and the bad events in "valleys" and you'll no doubt have quite a few events that just happened and you don't consider them peaks or valleys.
For those of you who want to get extremely creative, paste photographs for different events or use other graphics for illustration (such as a baby's crib for the birth of your child, etc.). You don't have to hit every significant spot because you can always come back and add more later.
Putting "What If's" Into Your Life's Journey
Putting peaks and valleys in your future will be more difficult. Your life right now may be in a valley. Here's where you will project some "what if's" for the next few years. For example, what will happen in your life journey if something you're dealing with right now goes through the way you want it to, and what will happen if it doesn't?
You have two possible paths you'll travel as a result of that one event. Maybe you have some goals such as going back to college, or starting a new career, or finding a new love, or leaving an abusive husband, or confronting your wife about a suspected affair, so start there.
"What if" you graduate from college?
"What if" you start your own business or change careers or get a new job? "What if" you find a new love?
"What if" you leave your husband?
"What if" you confront your wife?
"What if" you do nothing?
Using this method, think about your future in steps. What you project for your future is only your best guess based upon your life up to now and your the goals and dreams you wish for yourself. You already know that your best plans will change despite your work to keep them together.
Reviewing and Revising Life's Peaks and Valleys
Once you have completed your "I am here" map, put it somewhere that you can look at it occasionally and amend it as your future becomes present and then history. You might be surprised at what you see.
Much like making a list of the good and bad of your life and your relationships, mapping out your peaks and valleys up to now and then into the future will give you new insight into what you have, what you want, where you've been and where you're going.
Your life's map will also help to remind you that what you have and where you've been will always be influenced by what you want and where you're going.