Following Our Own Road Map

Years ago, I worked at AAA as a map marker; that is, when people came in to plan a road trip, we would create a *TripTik to show them the best routes to take. This always included up-to-the-minute road construction areas, information and directions to hotels on the way, fun spots, shops, restaurants, etc.

When you think about it, we all come into this world with a “road map.” We may be born to parents who badly wanted children, and after having them, did everything they could to make a great life for them. We may be born in a terribly poor area where food, shelter, water and education are scarce. We may be born anywhere in this world, and we come with infinite potential. Our circumstances may be modest or opulent, but we come to Earth for a reason.

True, it may take our whole lives to figure out our purpose here, but I believe that we are given subtle nudges in the directions we need to go; little hints and helps along the way. We may not always pay attention to them, but they are still there. For example, think of the jobs you’ve had over the years. Did you get them because you were working toward a grand plan for your life? Did you just ‘fall’ into them out of convenience? Did you know as a child what you wanted to do for work? Did you just drift from job to job with no particular direction?

Say that from a young age you deeply desired to become a doctor. Your interest may have started with a child’s book about anatomy and how the body works. You may have had a wonderful doctor who took the time to explain things to you and answer your questions; that person may have been your catalyst to become a doctor yourself.

But say that, despite this burning ambition, you come from a family where money is tight; you know that you are going to have to work hard to get scholarships to fulfill your dream. You may even volunteer at a hospital or nursing home to get experience to ready you for the study ahead. Sure, it’s not going to be easy, but if you are determined and creative, you will find a way to afford what you need and achieve your goal.

For those of us who didn’t have a ‘grand plan’ for life, we still find we are drawn toward certain jobs, people, interests, etc. It may take us longer to figure ourselves out, but for the most part, we get where we need to be. For example, **Chi Chi Rodriguez, famous golfer, had a huge number of obstacles to overcome before he made a name for himself. He had so much stacked against him, and yet he pursued his passion relentlessly.

I once had the great pleasure of meeting this man and shaking his hand. Although I am not a golf fan, his story moved me tremendously. It was an example to me that you truly can do anything if you work hard enough for it. What we may call ‘luck’ just may be part of our DNA, nudging us toward the life we are meant to live.

*Basically, this was a marked-up map showing the correct routes to take to get to a particular destination. Needless to say, this was way before GPS. I wonder if there are still “TripTikers” in existence.


“Juan ‘Chi Chi’ Rodríguez was born on October 23, 1935, in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, an impoverished area near San Juan. The fifth of six children, Rodríguez contracted rickets and tropical sprue when he was four years old, both caused by vitamin deficiencies. The illness was nearly fatal and left his bones thin and very sensitive to pressure and pain.

Rodríguez, who often went without shoes, knew pangs of hunger and deprivation. He didn’t own a toothbrush until he was a teenager, and brushed his teeth with soap and his finger or a piece of charcoal. Despite prohibitive poverty, his father, who worked 16-hour days cutting sugar cane and never made more than $18 a week, instilled in Rodríguez a deep sense of commitment to helping others. Many times Rodríguez saw his father, although hungry himself, share with an unknown child or family who, he said, needed it more. Rodríguez never forgot.

Despite his slight size, just five-foot seven inches tall and 130 pounds, Rodríguez had incredible hand-eye coordination, even as a child. He could hit rocks and bottle caps pitched at him with a stick, and he became an expert at using a broomstick to hit bats that would fly into the house. According to the Latino Sports Legend website, he ‘learned how to play golf with clubs fashioned out of guava trees and tin cans hammered into balls.’ By the time Rodríguez stepped up to his first game of real golf, he could hit the tin-can ball more than one hundred yards.”





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