Well tomorrow is my birthday.
For many people their birthday is a cause for celebration – a day to feel special.
I don’t know if it is because I went through a large part of teens and 20s without parties, and my 21st birthday was so momentous that no one even said happy birthday (this was pre-facebook) and I ate Subway alone – true story. However, despite the fact that I was a bit of a loner, there were other, bigger reasons I dreaded this day.
As an overachiever each year I would think about my goals, my plans, and take stock of where I was in my life. Inevitably, I had fell short of my expectations and would spend the days prior to the big day reflecting on all the things I could have done better. I could have spent less time watching TV, studied or worked harder, spent more time on side projects, or read more books – there was always more I wished I had accomplished.
Last year, despite being surrounded with people who love me (a sharp contrast from the me of 10 years ago) I went through a very dark and gloomy depression on the days before and after February 17th. So this year, a few days ago as my annual depression started to set in, I started doing some research on ways I could transform my birthday into something positive. I am pretty proud of what I came up with so I thought I would share it all with you (even though I should be doing something like finishing my new leader series or starting on the new interview series idea I have been noodling on)….
Creating a birthday time capsule.
We have all heard about time capsules, but for me I decided to answer a series of questions – forming a letter to myself that I can put in an envelope and open at some time in the future. I haven’t quite worked out the details of how far into the future yet, but I was thinking of a nice round number like 5-10 years. So tomorrow night I am going to sit and write out answers to each of these questions and then seal them away for safe keeping – and in 5 to 10 years I will have something to look forward to reading on my birthday!
Here is the questions that I plan to answer in my letter:
- Where are you now?
- What is the date? What is the weather like?
- What’s the last movie that you saw? What was the last movie that you loved?
- What are you listening to on your iPod?
- Who are you in love with?
- Who is your best friend?
- What do you wish you could own right now?
- What do you want your next vacation to be?
- What are you most worried about?
- What is one amazing thing you expect to do in the coming year?
- What is your favorite recent memory?
- What were the top 3 accomplishments from the last year?
- What made you laugh the hardest most recently?
- What are you best at? What do you think are you greatest assets and skills?
- What are your life goals at the moment? Did you make any progress on them?
- How much do you think gas will cost at the end of next year? In 5 and 10 years?
- What are your wishes for the upcoming year?
- What do you think you will be doing this time next year? In 5 and 10 years from now?
- What do you think will change about you over the next year? How do you want to grow?
- Where will you be living next year? In 5 and 10 years from now?
- What is one piece advice would you give your future self?
- What is your purpose in life?
And if you decide to try this too, don’t limit yourself! Here are some general topics to get you started on your list of questions
- List of your favorites. What are the things you like the best at the moment? Include as many different things as you see fit.
- Predictions. What do you think lies ahead for you? How about the important people in your life? Maybe you have a strong idea of how the world will evolve and change? These can be a lot of fun and entertaining to read after the fact. (Although I would keep it positive, since you don’t want to read a bunch of sad, hurtful or negative things in the future)
- Goals and aspirations. What do you want to accomplish? Where do you want to see yourself in the future? What will your life be like? What will your job be? How will you be spending your days (this a “day in the life of…” type of essay and explanation)? What do you hope will happen to you in the future? What are your dreams and how to you plan to see them as a reality?
- Reflections on the last year. What are the more important questions in your life at the moment? How do you feel about your life, your career, your family, and the world? What have been the highlights and accomplishments over the last 12 months? Anything you are particularly proud of? What about major events or changes? What do you enjoy doing most? What are the high points of the last year? The low points? Any sort of thought or reflections that are important make good fodder for this topic. A great way to do this is with top 5 or top 10 lists – like happy things, funny things, etc.
- Advice and lessons for the future. What would you want to tell your future self? Any advice or suggestions from this year that you would want to remember and learn from?
Of course, I haven’t answered my questions yet, so if you have additional questions please include them in the comments – I could always use a couple more.
Happy Birthday everyone! And cheers to a wonderful next year!