It’s been a while since I’ve made the journey to the memory of young adulthood.
I think about what it was like to be 21. I remember Pooters; parties; Perth; Peer Pressure; the Panopticon. I’m reminded of the feeling of invincibility and immortality; I distinctly recall speaking and writing about it, to someone, somewhere.
I think about whether I’d like to be 21 again. Reliving the growing pains while coming of age holds little appeal. But were they really matters of great importance – or mere minutiae? If I had known then what I now know, perhaps I would’ve treated those mountains for the molehills they were.
Therein lies the paradox of growing up. When it comes to the yearning for a golden age, departure is both the impetus and a necessary condition. It is only through crossing the Rubicon of youth that we can land on the shores of reminiscence and epiphany.
In order for us to arrive, then, we must first leave.
Representation is always difficult, and nowhere more so than on maps.
In constructing a map for a project, I spent – what I initially thought was – an inordinate amount of time on it. But I realised otherwise upon producing the final copy.
What I learnt about what took me so long was the exact thing holding me back from completing the task: Wanting to be perfect. I wanted to be as exact as possible so as to do justice to the geography.
At some point, it dawned on me that for the purpose of what I wanted to achieve, accuracy was still important – but faithfulness was not.
All I needed was an approximate model for people to get from Point A to Point B. Here, I had to strike a balance between what I wanted ideally and what people really needed.
If map-making is a metaphor for sharing one’s wisdom about finding one’s way in the world, then this route stands out: art, like life, entails having to be comfortable with making choices and accepting sacrifices.
Nevertheless, these trade-offs cannot be made unthinkingly; for example, there will be situations in which accuracy and faithfulness are equally important, and approximations will not suffice.
Also, while there is much value in putting in the hours to learn the intricacies and nuances of any craft, sometimes, it’s always better – and quicker – if you have a guide to show you the way.
I hope this map guides your path in the same way it will guide mine.