Why “treasure map”?

As a teenager introduced to the college admissions and career choice process, I came to believe that achieving success was like following the instructions in a manual: work hard, go to a “good” school, pay dues, and work my way “up.” I believed that every person and every workplace was as fired up about life as I was and took for granted that if I followed my basic interests and values, I would have no trouble finding a way to work on them in earnest.

I’ve realized that my success manual is really a treasure map: Parts of the instructions are written in a language I am still struggling to learn. Some of the pieces have been torn off, burned off, or damaged by water. The treasure I expect may not even be there when I arrive. Dragons, demon lovers, and unseen hands — not cozy coffee klatch buddies — are the traveling companions for this journey.

If I had the choice, though, would I have it any other way? Nah!

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