View of suburbs from the air.

Where am I going? How do I get there?

These are big questions that can be overwhelming.

Some people seem to cruise on through. Graduate from high school. Get some further schooling or training. Get a job. Get married. Have some kids. Retire.

In between, the details can be messy but if you stick to the broad strokes, things should work out and often do, as our vast suburbs prove. It might be a tad hard to tell one house, crescent or cul-de-sac from the other, but life in the ‘burbs is by most measures good. Somewhere just north of half of all Americans enjoy the prosperity of suburban life: good quality housing, access to services, jobs and education. They pay their taxes and benefit from roads, public transportation, government, policing and defence.

And if you don’t live there or still feel lost?

There is a vast literature of self-help, personal coaches or even this school to turn to, ostentatiously called The School of Life, started by philosopher Alain de Botton:

And then, if you’re really lost, there’s GPS.

When I moved up to the small community where I live on the edge of the Canadian wilderness, I thought I would be able to wander about more or less freely. I expected to find myself and my way.

Turns out to be not so simple. If you are not on a paved road, or a logging road, or a quad trail through the bush or a marked hiking trail, you (I mean me) are lost. Or you (me) might be; who wants to find out?

Today, we are in a conflicted position about the wilderness. There is no edge between civilization and wilderness. Satellites have destoyed remoteness. At least as long as you have a device. God help you if you don’t; ‘The Wild’ is indifferent to your survival and will destroy you as much as soon as give you the time of day.

There’s something to that, to this tension between known and unknown, technology and native (raw?) knowledge. Orienteering. Wayfinding.

And buried within this duality, there is something to be learned about positivity.

Global Positioning System (GPS) on Wikipedia.




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