As I mentioned in my last post (the Birthday Giveaway), my birthday is fast approaching. A couple of years ago, in a quest to gain some perspective on the life I've been living, I decided to start a "Birthday Book". As you know, I'm very fond of journaling, but I was looking for an easy way to keep tabs on myself without having to thumb through pages and pages of old journals. Enter the Birthday Book.

The Birthday Book is a special journal, in which I only write on (or around) my birthday each year. I try to cover the important happenings of the past year, my mood, my current goals, the things that inspire me, and the things that terrify me. I also discuss the people who are significant in my life at this time (how interesting it is to see that change over the years), and, finally, I talk about what I think might be in store for the coming year with as vivid an intention as I can muster. There's a lot to chronicle, but I keep it manageable by limiting the length to one page (front and back).

neil sattin’s birthday book journal

I also only read it once each year, as my birthday approaches. Re-reading what I've written allows me the chance to reflect back over what I thought my life might be like - and compare notes with what actually happened. It's also a great way to review my successes (and less-than-successes) of the past, to see how I've been growing, over time, with additional experience. I look forward to having 10 or 20 years of entries to read, although even a couple of years offers me quite a bit of perspective.

It's like I'm writing my own personal Cliffs Notes. You know - so that those who care to know after I've died (but who don't care enough to know every detail as captured in my journals) will have a place to look for a simple overview. Perhaps I'll even include a handy pie chart or bar graph once the yearly sample gets a little larger (any suggestions for what such visual representations could represent?). I haven't gotten so far as to write an epitaph yet, but I have written a couple versions of my obituary. Purely hypothetical of course. And I'm getting off-topic. Sorry about that. How did that happen? Ah yes, I guess I was talking about summarizing my life. Back on track.

neil sattin’s cliffs notes

The best part is that the commitment required to get some serious insight into your life is minimal. Set aside an hour ONCE PER YEAR to write in your Birthday Book. Then forget about it. Of course over time it'll take longer and longer to read through your previous entries, but the time that you'll have available to read increases the older you get, right? Well...there's always hoping! Or Photoreading. Just make sure that you reserve a spot on your bookshelf for your Birthday Book so that you don't have to go hunting for it each time your birthday rolls around. Along with your own perspective, you'll also earn the gratitude of all the future test-takers who are being quizzed on the subject of YOU - and who need an efficient way to cram for the exam the night before.

note - this blog entry is in no way meant to endorse Cliffs Notes as a method of achieving academic success, even if they did work perfectly fine (on occasion) for the author

One final note: I happened to see this illustration on the back of a Qtips cotton swab box, illustrating all of the uses for Qtips (click it for a closeup):

all the uses for qtips

Now let's talk about this for just a minute. Not only is my preferred (and, you might say, only) use for Qtips not illustrated, I'm not sure that I'd use a Qtip for ANY of these proposed tasks.

  1. Illustration #1 - Brushing eyebrows. On second thought, maybe I would use a Qtip for that. Though I prefer a comb.
  2. Illustration #2 - Typing. I don't know about you, but I prefer using at least the index fingers of both hands, if not all 10 of my digits.
  3. Illustration #3 - Cleaning a baby's face. Unless that Qtip has a fresh booger on it, it's of no use to me. Judging by the stunned look on that baby's face, I imagine that he's thinking "um, that Qtip is way too big for what you're about to do, right...mommy...mommy!?!?!"
  4. Illustration #4 - I pity the person who's decided to use a Qtip to clean our bathroom. What were you thinking?

That's it, just had to share. 😉