The topography of life

After living through enough life changes, the topography of life becomes evident. Tumultuous times are bumpy. Trouble is like a tall mountain to climb or a wide ocean to cross. Uneventful times are like methodically marching on expansive flatlands. Or perhaps the landscape only seems level and uneventful but wild animals silently lurk in the grasses.

Whether the terrain on which you stand is smooth or bumpy, take a moment to turn and look behind at the varied path traveled. When travel was difficult, did you explore changes to make the journey easier? When the trek was easy, did you push yourself just as hard or did you become complacent?

Often when the road is easy, we enjoy the easy road. We tend to resist stirring up a good situation with change. But when travel is hard, we explore new options to improve our situation as much as we can. Perhaps we explore a side-road. Maybe we pick up a compass and forge our own trail through the brush. We get creative. We dig deep.

If everything in life was perfect, we might cease to evolve in the satisfaction of it. As much as we may hate to admit it, trouble and challenges are catalysts for personal growth.

Certainly, I would never ask for a difficulty to come my way but in retrospect I can see that is during these times that I’ve had the most personal growth. In fact, challenging times show me who I am. They define me. Am I the type of person to dive right in and swim the ocean of trouble alone? Do I gather resources and build a boat? Do I get creative and head to the airport?

As on any map, the ocean isn’t infinitely wide and the mountains don’t rise forever. In the same way, life tends to be varied. One reason for this is us. As life’s travelers we become intrepid explorers and find a better route for the terrain. The ingenuity and resoluteness we find within ourselves along the way changes us forever.

As do the other travelers we meet along the way.

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