If the sky is blue and the music is right, you might find yourself driving across a prairie doing 95 in a 65 zone. Time and motion are relative, and when the view looks the same on all sides of you, you’ve got no frame of reference to judge your speed by. Self-reflection, or the absence thereof, is a bit like that. Sure, we update our social media profiles to memorialize and tell stories about the way we live, but how often do we stop to examine what we’ve told?
Most working women are too busy to pass the days away snuggled up and sipping tea in a bay window seat, penning their innermost thoughts and desires in ever-so-careful cursive. We have projects to manage and gigs to book, code to write, profit and loss statements to compile, and we’re expected to look good while doin’ it. We have kids and parents and partners to care for, not to mention those two or three (or sixteen) hobbies we want to take up on the side. Too often we let the complexity of pondering “Who I Am” threaten us into fluttery 140-character bursts, without ever stopping to reconcile the consequences of our choices with our long-term goals.
Somewhere between the lost art of diary keeping and the spastic exclamations of the blogosphere is a healthy balance of self-inquiry. This short exercise is designed to reflect on the experiences of this year and jump start your next one. Isolating major life changes is healthy not only as a form of meaning-making but as a way of inspecting the trajectory of your future.
You will need: a writing device or utensil, and about twenty minutes of uninterrupted time alone (optional: an espresso or a Manhattan).
- What changes did I make to improve myself this year?
- What changed in my relationship with myself and my body?
- What changed in my family?
- What changes did I make in my love life?
- Who did I devote my love to most this year?
- How do I feel about the things I shared online this year?
- What changed at work?
- How did my career goals change?
- What global changes did I feel on a personal level?
- What changed in the natural world around me?
- What changed my financial situation?
- What changed in my relationship with the universe/a higher power/the divine?
If you want to use these questions to look forward to 2017 without making one of those silly resolution lists that we can’t seem to follow, simply take the tense of the list and point it forward (i.e. “What do I want to change in my relationship with myself and my body?”, etc.). From there, you can draft an outline of 2017 — the projects and passions you most want to pursue, and the time you’ll make to develop those. If you find yourself with extra time, consider filling an empty 2-4 hour slot with volunteering at a non-profit in your community. Or update your LinkedIn. Have you even looked at that thing recently? 😉
Have fun, and may 2017 be your best year yet.