The Stagnant Swamp – A map of pilgrimage and possibilities

the stagnant swamp map

There is a stagnant swamp. I wonder if all paths and roads lead here. I presume they don’t as not everyone visits. But many do, or at least find themselves here for a time. But this isn’t the place to stay.

This is when we find ourselves seemingly content and lose the desire to move on. The land seems green, there is water. It is pleasantly warm. There is permanence too. But this permanence isn’t healthy. The land floods easily. It holds on to the water. It doesn’t drain, but we drain. Little by little our will, our desire to move forward, to keep journeying is drained; it ebbs away. The land is stagnant and that can spread to us. Bereft of desire, and will, we accept what is before us. We bemoan our predicament but desire not to change it.

There are routes around the swamp and also through it, but we need to look at the map and keep journeying. To stop and stay in this place will signal the end of our dreams, our goals, our ambitions. Even if we try to build, make an attempt to reclaim the land, we will not grow here. If we stay we will become stagnant, just like the swamp around us.

There is life here. Life adapted to stay in one place. Life that desires nothing more than to exist. Is there more to life and living? We’ll only know if we keep travelling and get out of the swamp.

Prominence Point – A map of pilgrimage and possibilities

prominence point

At landfall there is an incline that immediately becomes a steep scramble. It isn’t a mountain, but is more than a hill. It doesn’t take too long to ascend but upon reaching the top, the ground falls away very quickly on all sides. I can stop here, for a while. I can see for a very long way.

Prominence Point enables us to survey the area around us. It requires a climb. Some slopes are steep others less so. If we make the climb the view is worth it. The view enables us to see far. We can see where we have come from and possible routes for the future.

It is a place for decisions, decisions as to the direction we take. We can stay here a while but it isn’t a long-term option. Like the wilderness and desert the mountain top provides no lasting home.

While here though we don’t just look out. We can look in. What does this place tell us about ourselves? As we look out and see potential and possibilities, futures and hopes and dreams, what do we see of ourselves? Are we already reflecting what we see in our future? How does the view affect us? What is seen in our eyes, on our faces and on our hearts and souls as the vista stretches before us?

There are many questions. So a little rest at the top of Prominence Point is a good thing. Rest, look and find some answers. Then descend and continue your journey.

50 things to do before I am 50 – 50×50

50 x 50 list

I visit the doctor. I tell him what’s wrong. He makes notes, asks a few questions. I answer them and he checks my body. It all seems to be in working order, but he’ll refer me to a consultant, just to be sure.

The doctor wonders whether the issue could be psychological. He asks, ‘have you been under any stress recently?’. I smile, look at him, and explain.

In the past few years, I left a long-term job to go freelance. I have gone through a divorce. I have sold my house (a very long and protracted event) and moved, but have not found a place to call home. Now, I am in the midst of trying to make ends meet financially. Some freelance funding dried-up, stopping some work I was doing. Plus, with all the other stuff going on, I seem to have lost a little direction in recent months. So, perhaps a little stress.

Having explained that, I added that I didn’t think I was worrying about things though. My smile must have convinced him. You can hide so much behind a winning smile. He continued to arrange my trip to the consultant.

Mortality Meanders

Explaining all this to someone was liberating. It got me thinking that perhaps my life wasn’t reaching anywhere near its potential. A trip to the doctor also brings to mind one’s mortality, even if the trip is for something minor. In addition, I have a major birthday on the horizon. I am not quite as young as I once was, a condition most of us find ourselves suffering from.

Amongst all this I found a little motivation, and perhaps determination. It is a cliché, but we only have one life. It is time to focus on the one I have.


I have been told that the best goals are SMART ones, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timed – or variations on that theme. That seems like a good idea, and so I am coming up with 50 things to do before I am 50, my major birthday. Specific things within a specific time frame. It is not a bucket list. It is more like a big-ass to do list.

Some things are big, others little. Some are complex, others simple. Some are very personal, others less so. Some will be private, others public… some may change that status as the days roll on. The list may well change too, as some things become either impossible, or completed things lead to further ideas and developments.

The complete list lives here, but I will be posting progress, victories and defeats here. I’ll be using the 50×50 tag on each post. The list is almost complete, and as soon as it is I’ll put it on the page. There are a few things I want to think about before it goes public and make the goals as clear and specific as possible.

However, I am already working on several things on the list. I could refine and define the list a little more, but I am always over-thinking things. It is time for me to just get on and do, to get on and do 50 things by the time I am 50.

To wrap things up, and if you were in any way worried, I went to see the consultant and got confirmation that there was nothing wrong. Got a prescription and a little advice, so all should be well within a short while.

Remember, lives aren’t all glossy and sweet and photoshopped and happy all the time. Lives are messy, mine is and I’m sure yours is too. I don’t want to just share the sweet edited highlights, so this blog may be a little more open in the coming months. In the meantime, I need to finish my list… and look for more work… and build my relationships… oh, well that’s two things for the list. Do let me know what your goals are and how you keep motivated toward them in the comments. See you soon.