A long, long time ago, when vast portions of our world were as yet uncharted, maps would show what was known to exist, and, in areas where little was known, the phrase "here be dragons" was often used. Why "here be dragons"? Not necessarily because they truly believed there were dragons there, but rather that this was unknown territory. There could be dragons. There could be monsters. There could be all sorts of things, but no one really knew as they hadn't travelled there yet.
I've always loved the phrase "here be dragons", and in recent months it has come to be one I think about a great deal, dear friends. Why? Because I embarked on a personal journey, and discovered my map was a little sketchy. Large stretches of the ocean were uncharted. Large areas could only be described with the marker "here be dragons". I didn't know what I would encounter in those portions of my journey. And if I didn't know then certainly no one else could tell me, either.
As I've travelled I've been mapping. Now there are new friends, new places, and new experiences on my life map. What I keep finding, though, is that just when I think I've reached the edges of the map it unrolls just a tiny bit more, exposing another stretch of uncharted territory - and the phrase "here be dragons". At times I am daunted - do I continue this journey when I may yet encounter dragons, more dragons than I have already slain on the trip thus far? Do I turn back to the territory already mapped and be content with only it? Or, do I chose another option, and instead embrace those dragons?
You see, I have found dragons on occasion. I have found self-doubt, and fear, and a crisis of confidence. I have, at times, found sadness. But I have also found joy, and fulfillment, and exhilaration. I have found that I can conquer self-doubt, and fear, and those moments when my confidence falters. I have found that the sketchy map I had at the beginning has been a good thing because I have been able to chart my own course, even if it led me into waters filled with dragons. I have learned to not only slay dragons, but to embrace them. And so I forge on ahead, heading deeper still into waters unknown. All I know about them is that "here be dragons" - and I'm ready for them.