Friday 26 September 2014

My 2013 10Q answers

I've been doing this exercise in personal reflection every September since 2010 (see also my 2011 and 2012 answers).

Day 1:

Describe a significant experience that has happened in the past year. How did it affect you? Are you grateful? Relieved? Resentful? Inspired?

My answer:

I went to Brazil for carnival in Olinda and Recife. I was really looking forward to it. I saw and heard some beautiful things when I was there but I also had depression. I found it stressful being there: lack of Portuguese made it hard to communicate with people; it was 35 degrees every day - a constant struggle to stay cool and hydrated; it's still a third-world country: they don't do pavements and getting into Recife by bus was so slow; I also spoilt it somewhat by developing a crush on the girl I was sharing a room with and then never having the guts to do anything about it until she got tired of me hanging around her.

I'm still glad I went, but my memories are slightly tainted. By the end of my three weeks there I couldn't handle it anymore and stayed inside reading for the last 2-3 days after carnival. It was then that I came to terms with what I'd experienced and realized I had depression.

I did have another spiritual experience, though: hearing what sounded like angels' voices during the Night of the Silent Drums in Olinda.

I wonder how often my bouts of depression are related to girl trouble.

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?

My answer:

I wish I'd made more of an effort to learn Portuguese before going to Brazil. I had some CDs that I listened to in the car on the way to rugby sometimes and I went to Monday conversation meet-ups for a few weeks, but I soon realized that what I was learning was way too formal and only a tiny, tiny bit of vocabulary.

What am I proud of? I quite like where my life is right now. I have lots of stuff to keep me busy and entertained, to keep the black dog away. I open myself up to experiences.

I was quite chuffed to pass my yo-yo fitness test last week. I feel a bit chubby and I've got a weakness for snacks and treats too often but I reached the level that was expected of me - but nothing more.

My mum makes me proud when we discuss what's going on in my life and she expresses admiration for the way I live my life, sucking up culture and experiences.

I'm quite proud of the way I handled buying a new car. I figured out it was time to change after two years in a row of expensive repair bills after servicing. Instead of rushing into it, feeling pressured by Toyota's sales tactics, I took my time, saved up and ended up with a car I love with all the bells and whistles I could have wanted. I used the bank of mum and dad so I didn't even need a loan or a finance deal.

I'm proud of the way I can talk myself out of spending money unnecessarily instead of buying things on impulse. If you don't buy straight away and just leave it for a few days, you realize you didn't really want or need the thing in the first place.

Day 3:

Think about a major milestone that happened with your family this past year. How has this affected you?

My answer:

My parents are turning 60. We organized a get-together for the immediate family and cooked a barbecue. I don't think it has affected me much at all. Boring answer today, I know.

Day 4:

Describe an event in the world that has impacted you this year. How? Why?

My answer:

I don't think events in the world affect me that much.

The civil war in Syria is increasing a demand for Syria-related keywords in Islamic Relief UK's Google Grants account. I don't feel 100% comfortable about exploiting that. That's the side of marketing I'm less keen about.

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.

My answer:

I was moved during the Night of the Silent Drums in Olinda, Brazil in the week before carnival in February. I just remember being moved almost to tears by how beautiful the singing was floating above the thunder of the drums. Maracatu has this amazing ability to get you "there". I was also feeling a bit shitty emotionally (girl trouble), so I was probably more vulnerable than usual, more prone to being moved by something like this.

Day 6:

Describe one thing you'd like to achieve by this time next year. Why is this important to you?

My answer:

I want to be promoted to the South-West Division as a referee by Christmas. That's my goal and it has been for the last three years or so. It's important to me because I think I'm ready for the challenge and I want to prove that I'm capable of refereeing at a higher level. I don't want to stagnate and I'm not sure what I'd do with my refereeing if I was turned down yet again.

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?

My answer:

My life is pretty good right now. If I added stuff, I feel like I'd have to take other stuff away, or cut down to make time for it.

I'm thinking about the usual stuff like getting more sleep; improving my diet; hardening up by body to look and feel better about myself; getting a girlfriend (I'm working on it).

I would like to learn a bit more Portuguese before going to Brazil next year, but I'm not prepared to sacrifice any of my time currently spent watching and reading and listening about the NFL.

Trying to remember the best piece of advice I've received. It would probably not be personal to me but something I read in the daily Moodscope emails.

I may come back to this...

Day 8:

Is there something (a person, a cause, an idea) that you want to investigate more fully in 2014?

My answer:

I want to get to know Katie Nicholas a bit better. I like her, but I'm unsure if we're right for each other.

I should probably spend some time getting to know Aiysha from Sol Samba. She said a few weeks ago she wanted to talk to me. Maybe she can see my issues. (She's a psychologist.)

I need to choose a charity to give a regular donation to. I wanted to donate 0.7% or more of my gross personal product to charity: the UN target for GDP that countries are supposed to give in aid.

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?

My answer:

I'm still afraid of rejection, although I'm much better at acting on my feelings towards other people than I have been in the past.

I don't have any big plans, but I'm going to try to be more spontaneous when I'm with other people that I like: to make a move when I have the thought about making a move.

Day 10:

When September 2014 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?

My answer:

I doubt much will change between now and September 2014. I know who I am and I'm comfortable with it. I accept it. I don't know if any of the things I'm aiming for right now will make me feel any better, any happier. If anything, they will just add to the fullness of my life; make it harder to fit everything in.

I may be slightly embarrassed about what I've written. I may not be surprised that I haven't changed that much; that I still think about the same things.

Day 11:

What are your predictions for 2014?

My answer:

War. Change of personal patterns. Group.


Record your own answers this year at

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