I don’t think about birthdays much. In fact, I have a tradition of hanging out mostly solo on my birthday. I’ve stuck to that for about 5 years straight now. It’s a time of reflection more than a time to party. When I was a child, of course, birthdays were different. Presents! Cake! Pop! (That’s soda-pop if you’re not in the know. Now you know.) If you’re into celebrating days of birth with a big “me, me, me” day that’s cool. It’s just not me.
Last year on my birthday I launched the business side of RidiculouslyExtraordinary.com with my first product (while in India), then doubled the gross sales and sent it all to entrepreneurs through Kiva.org. (Maybe that’s not a very profitable business model?) I won’t be doing that this year. Been there, done that, it was fun, but I need new stimuli. You know?
Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about life’s most important question. And then I thought “hmm, if I answer this, it would be a cool thing to do for my birthday.”
The Meaning of Life
Life’s most important question is: “If I could do anything, what would it be?”
If we’re not striving for doing our anythings, what’s the point? I don’t know about you, but creating memories is my idea of “the meaning of life.” For example, while everybody else is pissed off or freaking out and waiting in hour long grocery store lines because The Great Snowpacalypse (spelled like that in honor of 2Pac, of course) has come, I’d rather go play in the snow, create some memories, and figure out what I’ll eat tomorrow tomorrow.
Maybe there won’t be any lines at the grocery store tomorrow and I’ll be the smartest guy on the block. Or maybe the grocery stores won’t even be open and I’ll eat strictly beans & quinoa for 2 days since that’s all I have stocked. Or maybe my stove won’t work, all the stores & restaurants will be closed, and I won’t eat anything. It’ll be OK. I promise.
I ask again, if you could do anything, what would it be?
But The Real Question Is …
Generally speaking I’m living my anything, but I’ve been thinking about taking it to a very specific level. To figure out that very specific anything you have to ask yourself a more intense question such as “If you knew you would die soon, but you had just enough time to do your anything, what would that anything be?”
It could be … well … anything.
Spend time with family/friends?
Eat an extravagant meal at a top rated restaurant?
Or maybe it’s a “once in a lifetime” type of event like climb Mt Everest?
I’ve been thinking along the “once in a lifetime” track for myself, but I haven’t come up with my anything. Most of the things I want to do are not specific one time events that can be boxed into a short time frame. Besides, obviously, a space flight. At $250k per flight I’ll wait for a different birthday for that one. Or maybe Richard Branson will give me a 95% off birthday discount. ;)
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but lately I’ve been writing articles without specific answers. I’ve also cut down on “hooks.” Not many headlines and subheadlines and bullet points unless they come naturally. Not a lot of highlighting. No attempts to catch “readers” who really only scan.
Maybe it will change tomorrow, but I’ve been making an attempt at writing in a way that causes you to reflect and figure the answers out yourself. It’s better for you that way. And it’s better for me as well. I’ve been getting some interesting e-mails with ideas, explanations, information, and points-of-view that I would have never seen myself if I didn’t leave certain articles more open-ended.
The Answer & Your Mission
If you write a blog or pen & paper journal this article does end with a specific answer, but it comes from you. Give yourself the answer to life’s most important question right now. Start with “If I could do anything, what would it be?” and let it flow.
This is so important that you’re not allowed to write it here in a spur of the moment comment. Take the time to reflect on your blog or in your pen & paper journal. Or hell, even a piece of scrap paper …
It’s not my birthday today. Or even this month.