(Disclosure: I actually do not like that slogan – not sure of the grammar of it, but I will use it because it’s what they use.)
There’s this thing I’ve been doing since 2011, or in other words (but coincidentally) as long as I’ve been doing my “corporate drone” job. It’s called 10Q, and was inspired by the time of reflection between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but you don’t need to be religious in any way to participate.
As you might have guessed, there are 10 questions that it sends you – one question per day, that you can reflect on (stuff like, how did a significant experience affect you) and write an answer to. At the end of the 10 days, you lock your answers away in a vault until the next year. Sure, anyone could do this for themselves any time, but there is something about the process and the community that I like. It probably adds some accountability.
You can choose whether your answers are public, or you can make them public but anonymous, or totally private. It’s up to you.
Also, you can answer all the questions on the last day, or only answer some of them, or answer a few at a time if you’re busy at work and haven’t gotten to it (speaking from personal experience). So I like that it’s not super rigid, but it has a structure.
There are lots of things I love about it, but these are probably the biggest ones:
- It’s for a specific period of time. So you can only read your old answers for a short period of time (the “vault” opens a bit before 10Q and closes a bit after). So it is part of a rhythm of a year for me – the sort of autumnal reboot, since I am not Jewish, but for a couple of years I observed some Jewish holidays and met with a rabbi, and so the religious rhythm also has some significance for me. In any case, I like that this is not about constant naval-gazing and more about a process of looking at your year and assessing it, and then saving something to consider for next year.
- It reminds me why I am writing. It gets me out of my day-to-day grind and makes me think about why I do what I do and why I want to write. And going back a few years (2011-13 especially), before I started really trying to write or taking writing classes in the evenings, I felt so frustrated that I wasn’t writing – I felt a need but wasn’t doing it. That’s really helpful to read about.
- I love reading my old answers. Again, this is sort of like reading your old journals and laughing at how you thought things would be. But the questions are thoughtful enough that you answer them in good ways. (For example, last year I wrote this: “I would like to be finished with my novel, maybe pitching it for publication.” HAHAHAHA.) For something a little bit more meaningful, I wrote this in 2012, which still really resonates when I read it again:
“When I was in university, I believed that I wanted a life in pursuit of knowledge and wonder. I think I need to add “joy” to that list. I have been pursuing knowledge for some time, but not with the wonder and definitely not with the joy. I have been making rules for myself, and that means as well making rules for others. I need to be myself. I think it is still important to seek knowledge – to evaluate and analyse – but I need to do this because of a deeper pursuit of joy and love.”
We’d love to hear from you if you’ve done it before, if you enjoy it, if you are going to do it again?