a map of sorts

tweet tweet “at a small crossroads in a larger choice: stability/sanity or the dream. the foreseen dangers of both commitment & abandonment weigh heavily.”

I find my psyche randomly skinny-dipping into tide pools of turmoil.

From career to personal ambitions(s) to private goals, from friendships to companionships to passions, many facets of my world have been swirling, each at their own pace. What began as occasional shifts of breeze 40 months ago, gained whirlwind momentum in February of last year, and seems to have become a vortex in the last two months. I embrace the notion that life is composed of joys and traumas, both of which are oft fleeting in nature when viewed through the larger spectrum of time. Yet, while still in the midst of uncertain chaos, to describe the journey as rocky seems too cavalier.

But there is a silver lining.

These dips into turmoil are oft followed by deep reflection on the path(s) and passion(s) I want to pursue. From investment in building the Experience Studio brand, to building my personal brand. From assessing my skills and their transferability to new opportunities to the skills I lack (and thus need to develop). From selling myself to selling myself short. From the sensibility and stability of full-time employment to the passion and uncertainty of dance. From networking and socializing to personal time spent in isolation. These continuums do no skew with either professional or personal bents, but are interweavings of a single individual bent: me. These are not questions of balance so much as they are questions about what I want to achieve, the best means of achieving them, and the present aspects of my life that I want to maintain. These are also questions for which I don’t have answers.

It may seem that I’m adrift in stress’s abyss, so where is the silver lining?

It is in my choosing to ask the questions.

I don’t know when, if ever, I’ll have the answers. Such a confession is not avoidance of issues at hand, merely recognition that while some answers I’ll formulate and achieve, others will serendipitously create themselves. And…

tweet tweet @jamesarcher “only 1 certainty, despite how perfectly we conceive our lifeplan, reality obliges little except to prove our plan ill-conceived”

So while I grapple with swirling facets, I am endeavoring to design and publish (here) a map of sorts that records how I spend each waking hour. Through conception (January 23rd), planning (ongoing), and execution (for one year or the remainder of 2008), this project is one I see as a tool for exploring my patterns of self.

Where is time spent? Where is it invested? What is the difference? What do I consider of import? How do the facets of my life divide? Or interweave? Am I comfortable in my modus operandi? Or actively seeking to develop my knowledge and skill set? To enrich my professional life? My personal life? The lives of others? Are my present pursuits aligned with the life I dream of living?

In a manner similar to Flickr’s 365 Days and Viddler’s MeToday, it is an exercise in self-portraiture. Yet the method is different. This map of sorts is a filmstrip series wherein each individual frame is a graphic representation of a use of time, a facet of my life. A single strip captures a single day, from waking to bedding.

The map below is of January 23-25, the first three days of this project. I realize there is not yet a key to assist interpretation. Please bear with me; it is coming.

[slideshow id=1297036692686502017&w=640&h=150]

[slideshow id=1297036692686503890&w=640&h=150]

[slideshow id=1297036692686504480&w=640&h=150]


No doubt various design issues will arise. Some, such as the categories I use to classify time spent and the basic unit of time (one hour, divisible into quarters), have already been addressed. Others, such as the level of detail illustrated, will be ongoing. And there be some that are yet unforeseen. I may, from time to time, seek input (primarily through Twitter) on how to tackle these issues.

If compelled to do so, please feel free to offer comment and critique. This map, like myself, is to be seen as a work in progress.

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  1. #1 by Jeremy Vaught on February 13, 2008 - 8:00 am

    For certain, Heather, this is a topic I try to keep balance as well. Most people I know don’t think such things, they are happy to go to work every day and call that good.

    So I see this as what I call, “A healthy dissatisfaction of the status quo.” I think you are a smart and talented girl, so you have more opportunity then the average folk, thus, more confusion.

    Tough decisions. I know the feeling. Think hard. Pray harder. You will come to the right conclusions.

(will not be published)