Remember when you were in elementary school and you were supposed to write a letter to yourself to be mailed at a later date? An exercise in self-awareness (if you took it seriously) or silliness (if you wrote about boys), maybe embarrassing, maybe revelatory, maybe a little bit of both. I’ve never been a diary keeper (this here is the closest I’ve come), so for me that sort of time-capsule exercise is the only private kind of rumination I might have had. Until I heard of 10q. It’s sort of amazing. Once a year you answer 10 questions, and then a year later, your responses are e-mailed back to you (and if you keep it up, all of your past responses are saved for posterity). I did it last year and just got my responses back.
To the question: What are your predictions for 2012?
We may move, we may nest, and there will be a terrible election that will take over everything and solve nothing (really).
See? You should do it. Get started here.
image of Gramma’s beautiful watercolor hydrangeas. Oh to have her garden!
This is a 5 year Journal (from the amazing Gravel and Gold, of course). You get about an inch each day to record what happened on that day every year for five years. Marvelous. Terrifying. Now, I’ve always wanted to keep a journal. But- I’ve never been able to make it work. It takes too much time to capture everything I know I should, and whenever I have tried (often at various stages), it always feels like I’m writing as if I hoped someone would find it (this is probably why I can keep it together to write here). I prefer to send postcards, a form of daily recounting that goes away on the wind like a smoke signal, and to the same purpose. For a postcard l will dedicate hours at cafes, during breakfast, on fallen logs painstakingly recounting the day in 6 point font or (even better) drawing elaborate tiny diagrams to show and tell what I’ve been up to. Here’s one addressed to sweetheart, and the cat, that I sent from San Francisco this summer (the rarity! A postcard that you get to see after you sent it): I cannot imagine the 5 year journal. But I am enamored with the principal. So about this time last year I read a re-circulated article about 10q, and immediately added my name to the list. 10q is a series of, well, ten questions of varying degrees of banality and intensity that you answer once a year. “Describe an event in the world that has impacted you this year.” or “How would you like to improve yourself and your life next year?”. One year later, your previous answers are revealed to you via e-mail as if your inbox were a personal, virtual time capsule. Theoretically this serves as an exercise in reflection, and (hopefully) an indicator of personal growth, right? I signed up for it (stoked!) and one year later my answers were e-mailed to me. Uh… it turns out, I had neglected to actually answer any of the questions. Whoopsie. So, the e-mail just said:
Is there something that you wish you had done differently this past year?
Think about a major milestone that happened with your family this past year. How has this affected you?
BLARGGGGGHH! My personal history is BLANK. Reflection and personal growth? Naaah, not for me. Or maybe it was that I didn’t want to dwell (at the time) on a pretty rocky year and a relatively uncertain future. Or that I didn’t want to dwell theatrically. Or maybe it was that 2010 me didn’t feel like putting on a brave face for the benefit of 2011 me (but I knew I’d think I was a bitch in hindsight if I didn’t put on a brave face, so I left it blank). Anyway, this year I am DOING IT. I recommend you do too.