Maps seem to be a big trend nowadays.
No, I’m not being shady. I have one myself – it’s up on the wall above my desk. Of course, a lot of people hang maps around their houses for aesthetic purposes: I’m almost certain that the earth doesn’t have a pleasant pastel tone if you were to look at it from space, but we’re a creative species, and if we want a rainbow-coloured earth within the privacy of our own homes, then we can damn well have it. Another reason is to give one an air of ‘worldliness’, as it were. You hang your map on the wall so that visitors will see it and say, “my, that person has ambitions of travelling widely, which is thought by the educated elite to be a key to enlightenment”. Home décor is a complex and multifaceted thing.
I think a big reason for the whole ‘map trend’, though, is that it almost acts as a sort of inspiration. A map can remind us that there’s a whole big world out there that we have the power to explore, if only we try hard enough. I’ve been thinking a lot about ‘trying’ recently.
I was turned down for a job about two weeks ago, as I’m writing this. To be told that officially was disappointing, but in a strange way, because I knew I wasn’t going to get it in the first place – I didn’t do well at the interview, and they were looking for a different personality type. But still, I was disappointed for more than the loss of some potential income. I was disappointed because I had tried – and I did try – and I still failed. What a balls.
Sometimes trying really, really hard isn’t enough, and that’s awful. A lot of things we put our necks out for are ultimately left up to chance – had you been up against different people; had you been more awake on the day; had you been a foot taller or a pound heavier or a smidge more organised, you would have gotten this, that, or the other thing. But you didn’t. And life goes on.
I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe that it might seem that way, because human beings are amazingly durable. If you try this, and this doesn’t work out, you can try that, and that might work out better. And even if it turns out that you just aren’t good enough, well – what’s wrong with that, exactly? I tried to cook decent food last week, and I set off the fire alarm twice. But the stuff was still, y’know, edible, and I never claimed to be good at cooking anyway. Maybe I wasn’t good enough for that job, but I’m sure there’s another one out there somewhere. Maybe I can’t afford to save for a trip to Dubai, but that’s on account of me needing to keep myself alive, to be fair.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. And if you’re still not succeeding, it might be a good idea to adopt a new strategy. Maybe you didn’t get manage to get published by the New Yorker, but there’s always Byline (firstname.lastname@example.org)!