Things to reflect on during your birthday
May 1, 2014 3:43 PM   Subscribe

I'm turning 22 soon, and it’s been one hell of a year. Birthdays have always been a good time for me to reflect on things. Any suggestions on things to reflect on, questions to think about, or ways to plan for the year ahead?
posted by markbao to Religion & Philosophy (13 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
I like to reflect on my 5 (or whatever number you like) biggest accomplishments of the past year, and celebrate those.

In terms of planning for the year ahead, I really like Danielle LaPorte's idea of focusing on how you want to FEEL instead of what you want to DO. So, rather than starting from "I will write a novel this year," you might think about how you want to feel throughout the year and come up with (for example) inspired, creative, calm, and connected. And then go from there to think about various ways you can help encourage those feelings in your life.
posted by rainbowbrite at 3:49 PM on May 1, 2014 [4 favorites]

What do you really want vs. what you think you should want
posted by thelonius at 4:41 PM on May 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

Now and then, it's nice to think back on events and occurrences that appeared to be problematic or disappointing at the time, but which either turned out unexpectedly well or cleared the way for better things.
posted by janey47 at 4:42 PM on May 1, 2014 [4 favorites]

I liked this set of New Year's Reflection Questions. That blogger also has a complementary set of goal setting questions for the New Year. I should think they would work just as well for a birthday, if not better--just skip the ones that you don't find relevant (e.g., spouse, etc.).
posted by stellaluna at 4:55 PM on May 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

Starting with your birthday this year, every time something significant occurs - good, bad, or indifferent - write it down on a slip of paper and stuff it into a jar. When your next birthday rolls around, you can open the jar and can reflect on all the incidents you thought were worthy of reflection. And if they no longer seem worthy of reflection, you can learn something from that too.
posted by DrGail at 5:08 PM on May 1, 2014 [8 favorites]

Devote some time to reflecting on yourself in a desired future scenario.

Working now on long-term goals can kind of suck, but once you get to my age--40 years older than you--living within my means, avoiding credit and socking it away has had a huge payoff.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 5:55 PM on May 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

I like to look back at the prior year and pinpoint what the biggest source of my grief was, e.g. being too hard on myself, or not getting enough exercise, or being in a toxic relationship or bad job. Birthdays serve as a nice motivator--it's easier to say, "Not another year of THIS! Something's gotta change." (Conversely you could look back and identify what made you the happiest, and keep doing that.)
posted by lovableiago at 6:29 PM on May 1, 2014

Love these suggestions and really looking forward to sitting down with these. Thanks, all!
posted by markbao at 6:32 PM on May 1, 2014

Here's a perhaps similar question about New Years reflections, with another list of questions to reflect on.
posted by one_bean at 8:20 PM on May 1, 2014

Hoo-boy! To go back to my twenties and actually ponder anything! I swear, I was brain dead during those years. I was a leaf in the wind and trust me when I say that is not a great thing to be. I am a HUGE planner now, and it beats the hell out of just stumbling around like a drunk.

If I could go back to 22 years old, I would ask myself, What kind of person do I want to be? There are camping people, boat people, garden people, city people, country people, motorcycle people, people who love fine dining, people who love to ski, people who collect stamps. Just so many, many different types of people. You can do and be whatever type of person you want to be, but you have to figure out what that is first and then make the micro-choices to make those things happen. The future-you is counting on the now-you to make good choices.
posted by Grlnxtdr at 8:25 PM on May 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

If you are interested in such things, you could do a Tarot or I Ching reading to help stimulate subconscious associations.

If you have any spiritual beliefs, then you could incorporate an appropriate prayer or ritual into your birthday reflections.
posted by sam_harms at 8:28 PM on May 1, 2014

this might help...

"This existence of ours is as transient as autumn clouds.
To watch the birth and death of beings is like looking at the movements of a dance.
A lifetime is like a flash of lightning in the sky.
Rushing by, like a torrent down a steep mountain."

-the Buddha
posted by jcworth at 8:15 AM on May 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

Similar to DrGail, I suggest keeping a journal. I write in my journal every night before bed. Sometimes it is just "Today was awesome. I had cake!" but sometimes I write long entries about important events (good ones and bad ones), how I felt, my concerns, etc. Sometimes the entries aren't about something specific that happened that day, but rather just something I was thinking about. I find journaling intensely useful. The ability to look back and compare today to you from the past can help you to see how much you have really changed and grown.

At minimum I would write a "End of my 21st Year" summary where you record the major events, the important people in your life, your current interests and obsessions, and then record goals for the coming year.

As for specific things to reflect on:
- how you felt this past year went overall. Did things go mostly how you expected? What surprised you? What disappointed you?
- times where you felt you really excelled
- times where you fucked up (and what you learned from it and what you can do moving forward to keep it from happening again)
- the people in your life, the roles they play and the influence on you that they have. Have a really honest think about whether every one of those people is a positive influence on you.
- What things you would do differently if you could have a do-over of the past year. If there are any things that can be carried over in the new year (work out more, be happier, watch less tv, get better grades,etc) then start them now.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 10:46 AM on May 2, 2014

« Older The Information Superhighway is dark and full of...   |   Ansari, Burr and CK comedy specials: Region 4 DVD... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.