mall4
Top floor of the Mall of Berlin ©MTHerzog

Like I wrote yesterday, birthdays are a time of reckoning for me and a chance to do some soul accounting and life balancing. Here is a checklist I used to work through each decade, then narrowed it down to every five years, and now I do it every year simply because I realise that time is short and we live on borrowed time.

  1. Values I have outgrown
  2. New values I live by
  3. Values I struggle with
  4. People who have helped me grow
  5. People who have hindered my growth
  6. People I wish to leave in my past
  7. My anchors
  8. My sources of strength
  9. Dreams I shelved
  10. Ideas I want to turn into plans
  11. Places I want to visit the next 12 months
  12. Have I touched a life?
  13. Have I made a difference in my community?
  14. Have I made a contribution to the world?
  15. Have I served my fellow man?
  16. Have I served the community?
  17. These I have rescued
  18. These I have discarded
  19. These I have lost
  20. Have I been a good neighbour?
  21. Am I good friend?
  22. Am I generous with my time and treasures?
  23. Do I know how to embrace failure?
  24. How I deal with pain
  25. How I deal with grief
  26. How I deal with loss
  27. How I close a chapter in my life
  28. These things I need to work on (mind)
  29. These things I need to work on (soul)
  30. These things I need to work on (spirit)
  31. These things I need to work on (home)
  32. Have I been good to myself?
  33. Have been generous with myself?
  34. Moments I am selfless
  35. Moments I am selfish
  36. What I struggle with
  37. What comes easy to me
  38. These people I love unconditionally
  39. These people I trust with my life
  40. These truths I live by.

Mind you, half of the items on this list were given to me in the form of a workbook by my aunt right after graduating from High School. I squirrelled it away and have revisited and tweaked it over the years. It is cleansing, challenging, frustrating, and inspiring all at the same time.