This year’s 10Q is gearing up again. If you’ve not heard of it, 10Q is an annual site on which you store the answers to 10 questions; at the end of the 10 days the answers go to the vault, where they stay until the following year. Shortly before the next year’s 10Q session begins, the site sends you your answers from the previous year, so you can review them before answering those same questions again.
10Q is an amazing tool for self-reflection and goal setting. I have participated for the past five years, and look forward to doing so again this year. I have learned so much about myself through this exercise — the areas in which I get stuck, what really matters to me, how current events color my experiences, and how, much to my surprise, I do have my own brand of spiritualism. I recommend 10Q to anyone interested in digging a little deeper. You won’t be disappointed.
Here are my answers from last year. I’m pleased to say that I have, in fact, made tremendous progress in several of my problem areas over the past year. To correct a pattern, first you have to recognize it exists. I’m so excited to answer the questions again this year.
Day 1: Describe a significant experience that has happened in the past year. How did it affect you? Are you grateful? Relieved? Resentful? Inspired?
I got laid off.
It has had a major impact on my life, for obvious reasons, but it’s also made me truly examine how I spend my time, how I view myself, and how I approach life. And it has inspired me to re-evaluate my priorities. So while I won’t say I am grateful, I cannot see it as entirely a bad thing. (But that’s easy to say when there’s money in my bank account and food in my belly.)
Day 2: Is there something that you wish you had done differently this past year? Alternatively, is there something you’re especially proud of from this past year?
I have made many positive changes in my life over the past year. I am not “there” yet, but I am moving in the right direction. Most days, I am doing my best. And really, that’s all anyone — including me — can expect from me.
Day 3: Think about a major milestone that happened with your family this past year. How has this affected you?
This has been an eventful year. My mother retired. I got laid off, and for the first time in nearly 20 years do not have a job. My daughter started school. We have collectively undergone a major paradigm shift, and it hasn’t been without its growing pains. But I feel we are doing well. We are learning how to adapt to our new normal, and slowly starting to thrive.
Much as I hate to say it, those things have overwhelmed what should have been the biggest change this year: R and I got engaged. I even forget we are engaged sometimes. Whereas when I was engaged to my ex, it was all I thought about. I don’t know if the difference is because I am 42 instead of 27, or if it is because this will be my second marriage. Perhaps it’s the fact that we have already been together for nearly a decade. Or that we have two kids. At any rate, I wish I were more excited; I kind of feel that he’s getting shortchanged somehow. But we are hardly blushing kids anymore.
Day 4: Describe an event in the world that has impacted you this year. How? Why?
The refugee crisis tears at my heart. All the dying babies. For what? Will we never as a species stop inflicting such pain on each other?
Day 5: Have you had any particularly spiritual experiences this past year? How has this experience affected you? “Spiritual” can be broadly defined to include secular spiritual experiences: artistic, cultural, and so forth.
Breastfeeding my son during the requiem mass at my great-aunt’s funeral. Mass was held in the church my mother attended growing up. My parents were married there. I was baptized there. I remember going to church as a small child, laying on the knee rests when I got bored and looking up at the amazing Gothic architectural details (it’s a gorgeous church). Feeding my son there felt like coming full circle, somehow. Life alongside death. A meeting of generations. There hasn’t been much of that in my life. It was a humbling experience.
Day 6: Describe one thing you’d like to achieve by this time next year. Why is this important to you?
I want to be financially stable. I know I keep saying that, but it’s because I continue to be financially chaotic. I would like to have a steady income, decent insurance, and less debt. Ideally, I would like to have enough left over at the end of the month to start saving again. And if I’m really going to shoot for the moon here, I would like to have a new car and at least be moving towards buying a house. I’m tired of worrying about money. Tired of the debt game. Tired. Just tired.
Day 7: How would you like to improve yourself and your life next year? Is there a piece of advice or counsel you received in the past year that could guide you?
I want to establish a routine so that I can accomplish all I want and need to accomplish. Doing so will help me be better in all I do, and also to be less cranky while I do it.
Eliminating the unnecessary is a good start. I have begun spending less time on social media, and unfollowing those whose posts cause me inner turmoil, because I would rather spend my time doing productive things than by getting bent out of shape over things I cannot control. And, dare I say, I have been happier for it.
Conversely (I know, I know), I would like to make at least one close friend in the coming year. Someone local. Someone I can hang out with. Preferably someone with kids near the age of my own! I have no idea how to do this.
Day 8: Is there something (a person, a cause, an idea) that you want to investigate more fully in the coming year?
Education. Specifically, how to engage my children in learning. I am already beginning to see the resistance to new experiences in my daughter, and want to nip that in the bud. My son is currently fascinated by learning, and I want to figure out how to keep him interested.
Day 9: What is a fear that you have and how has it limited you? How do you plan on letting it go or overcoming it in the coming year?
Financial ruin. I allowed that fear to keep me in a thankless, dead-end job for over a decade. I’ve allowed it to lock me into jobs I disliked, felt uninspired by, or actively hated. I allowed it to suck up my entire adult life, leaving no time for my wants or needs or dreams. In the coming year, I will actively focus on attracting work I love, that I am adequately paid to do and respected for doing. I will seek to do work that allows me enough time for myself and my family. I will make us my priority, not money. We can live without money. We cannot live without us.
Day 10: When September 2017 rolls around and you receive your answers to your 10Q questions, how do you think you’ll feel? What do you think/hope might be different about your life and where you’re at as a result of thinking about and answering these questions?
This year, I was amazed at how much of what I said last year still rang true. I am hoping to have accomplished at least some progress in the coming year, so that next year I can grouse and worry about new things.
Day 11: What are your predictions for the coming year?
Optimistically, I hope that my recent revelations regarding the recurring patterns in my life allow me to make sweeping changes and take my life to new, greater heights.
Realistically, I will probably plod on as I have been, making tiny but significant steps forward.
I suppose so long as I am moving forward, it’s all good.