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#DrawYourOwnLifeMap has been my “personal” Instagram hashtag for two years now. As of today, I have used it in 367 posts. I call it a “personal” Instagram hashtag because no one else has ever used it. (Except for the one account that I VA for.)
With good reason.
“Draw your own life map” came from an idea I had while starting this blog. Well, really it was just after I started the blog, while writing my very first “About Me” section.
I imagined our lives laid out before us when we are born. They are all mapped out already. We start as babies, learning the basics of how to function, then move on into preschool, elementary school and high school.
At this point there are options, but for the most part, we have been conditioned to go out into the world and do the same thing as everyone else.
Either go to college or not, but whenever school is over, (or maybe even while you are still in school) go get a job. Then, if you haven’t found them already, go find the person you will spend the rest of your life with. Buy a house, start a family, work for 40-45 years, retire (if you can financially) and then enjoy your retired years. Again, if you are able to, financially. Also at that point, if you are healthy enough.
Especially if you had to work into your later years, you may not be healthy enough to do the things you once enjoyed. The things you dreamed of doing when you finally retired.
“Draw your own life map” challenges all of that.
When I pictured this map, laid out ahead of us, fully filled out as if someone had already been there, had already experienced and explored our lives (my life), I became uncomfortable.
I don’t want someone to tell me which turn to take next, or the best way to get around that mountain in front of me. I want a blank map. Which of course, is just a piece of paper.
I want a blank piece of paper.
I want to draw in where the mountains are and the best way to get around them. I want to draw in the forests and the beaches and I want to plan my own way from point A to point B.
By the time I came to this realization, I had already started inching off the pre-drawn path to sketch in my own. I had already started a business while home with my son, and I was now starting a blog. By this point, my husband had stopped working and was staying home with our infant while I was also at home working my business. These are things that are not “normal”. It may be more accepted now than just a couple decades ago, but it is not “normal”.
The blog itself, this blog, was started because I was looking ahead and my intuition said, “write”. A very intensive blog course was opening and within a night I had decided I wanted to do it, and convinced my husband that “yes, this is something we need to spend our money on.”
When the course actually opened, I was on my way home from visiting my daughter in the hospital in Greenville and I pulled off the road and paid for it. Ok, that’s a lie to sound more responsible than I am. I paid for it while driving. I was on my phone and driving and it was irresponsible. Don’t do that. It was mostly while at a stoplight, if that makes the situation any better, and anyway it was two years ago so please don’t judge my current self on it.
I was determined (it was a highly sought after course with only a certain amount of openings) to get into this class. I was going to start a blog. My intuition was strong about it; I couldn’t ignore it.
So I started to draw a new path on my map.
I was going into even more uncharted territory. I would come across mountains never seen before and have to figure out how to get over the rivers, or build my own bridges. But it will be MY map. All mine.
I am not the only one out here who has taken a chance to step off the pre-drawn map to chart my own. I run into amazing women every day who are drawing their own life maps. Some of the maps are drawn in loud, vibrant, bright colors. Some are in pencil so edits can be made, some are being charted on a computer, some are 3D models built of pipe cleaners and
We are all out here deciding what’s next for us, without the preconceived ideas of the generations before us. There are women who are deciding not to have children, women putting off marriage, women building and running their own empires, women lifting other women up who are building their own empires because they see such value in an idea.
Everyone should feel empowered to do this. To design their own life; to draw their own life map.
Through the next year OwlBeMe.com will be highlighting featured women who have already taken steps away from the pre-drawn map they started on. Some who decided never to start on it and others who took years to realize it wasn’t the map they wanted to follow. Through interviews with these amazing women, I hope to inspire others to follow their inner voices, their intuition, to step out and start drawing their own life maps.
So, what would it look like? If you were to draw your own life map? Are you already? Let’s see it on Instagram with the hashtag #drawyourownlifemap!
Follow me on facebook and instagram to get behind the scene looks at the interviews and subjects. While you’re at it, make sure to be on the list for blog updates so you know when new interviews are released!