Journal writing / soul & purpose searching questions, courtesy of Eat Spin Run Repeat.
1. What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
I would lose weight. I would implement a body nurturing habit regime. I would apply to jobs i really wanted. I would start dating. I would write a book. I would be happy.
2. What would your life look like if money had no meaning? Would you work? Where would you live? Who would you spend your time with? What would you do more/less of?
If money had no meaning, I wouldn’t be thinking about having to pay rent, bills, plane tickets, I would take a train anywhere, I would hop in a taxi if I was late from somewhere, I would attend the theatre or a concert every day, I would get a take away if I felt like it and not only when I was low, I would have cider for breakfast, I would get new teeth, I would wear nice fitting clothes, I would have my nails and hair done regularly, I would visit the seven wonders, I would take the cross country trains, I would build a school for my nephew, I would camp on the beach, I would have ice cream for dessert, I would try and write novels, I would join courses just for fun, I would pursue a PhD, I would crochet for a day, I would go and look for Atlantis, I would become a professor of obscure inconsequentialities. I would have house with a balcony overlooking a ragged coastline, I would have a cabin in the woods with a fireplace that never goes cold, I would have a penthouse in New York and a bungalow in the highlands, I would herd sheep for a day each year with no wi-fi. I would spend time alone, I would have friends who cared, I would visit my family to show I do care at some level.
3. What did you want to be as a child, and how does that compare to how you define yourself now?
I wanted to be a teacher, a ballet dancer, a painter, a housewife, a courtesan, a novelist, a translator, a pianist, a therapist, a volunteer, a professor, a reader. Today, I am unemployed with two degrees.
4. If you could write a letter to your 15 year old self, what would you say?
That bar of chocolate? It’s not worth it. Those stretch marks? They are for good. That boy you dream of? He won’t show for at least another decade. That thing you are most scared of? It’s real. Those dreams you are placating yourself with? They will come true. And you will realise why the old saying, be careful what you wish for.
5. What achievements are you most proud of?
Making it in the big world with ‘minimal’ help age 19. Finishing two degrees while holding down demanding jobs. Quitting my job and taking a leap of faith.
6. What do you want to be remembered for?
My smile. My good heart. My good deeds. My dreams. My strength. My resilience.
7. Think about the last time you felt totally on top of the world. Where were you? Who were you with? What were you doing? What parts of that experience can you recreate today and every day to boost your happiness?
I just gained a place at the school I thought so hard to get in to. Feelings of achievement, of appreciation, of being special, of escaping.
I just won the annual high school leavers’ competition with my classmates. Feeling of joy, euphoria, communion, belonging.
I just got a letter of acceptance at university. Feeling of accomplishment, of opportunity, of a chance.
I just got a letter of invitation for an interview, after spending my birthday alone in the library. Feeling of hope, dread, excitement, content, worth.
All these experiences, tied to some milestone, some achievement, some other people’s decision. It seems like I cannot create my own happiness alone.
8. Who is one of your mentors? What do you admire about them? What makes them unique and what have you learned from them?
My primary school teacher, Mrs VKM, who taught me the love of life, the finding pleasure in the ordinary, the being content in our own destiny, in never being afraid to dream bigger.
9. If you had just one day left to live, how would you spend it? What would you tell your loved ones?
I would cry. I would panic. I would try to write a letter of apology to myself for not making the most of it. I would not tell my family what awaits me, but I would leave a note to ensure they were able to collect my dues. I would burn my diaries. I would try to get on a flight, the opposite direction from my family, and try my damnedest to hug Him.
10. What is the one single most difficult lesson you’ve ever had to learn?
It’s probably a tie between “I will never be more important to anyone than they are to themselves” and “If you want something, you have to work for it – no such thing as a free present.”
11. What is one of your biggest dreams? What’s getting in the way?
Being content in my own skin. And it is my lack of self control, lack of motivation, lack of trying that are all in the way.
12. What are the most important aspects in your life right now and how much time do you spend on each? Is the time you spend proportionate to the importance of each aspect?
I spend an awful lot of time planning / dreaming about a future I would like to live, and a disproportionate amount of time acting on making it happen. I spend time moaning about things of little consequence five years down the line, and avoid facing the big questions.
13. If you could choose one word to represent yourself now, what would that be? Too hard? Pick 3 words.
Hopeful, Trying. Eager.
14. If you could choose one word to represent your ideal version of yourself, or the person you strive to become, what would that be?
15. Throughout the course of this year, what things can you add, what changes can you make, and what destructive or unfulfilling behaviours can you crowd out in order to bring you closer to that one word you want to embody?
There are only two months left of this year, but I can try and work on getting a job that I actually want to do in the long term, I can try and take some steps towards self acceptance, and I can try and face some of my fears regarding what my future might look like.