Haven't been posting much lately, as I've been working on various projects. One project has me busily drawing and redrawing plenty of mindmaps and flowcharts, complete with arrows, squiggles, asterixes, question marks and symbolic doodles.
I'm auditing my life.
I do this a couple of times per year, but the end-of-the-year season feels like a particularly appropriate time to do it. Basically I take time out to reflect on the past 12 months, and all the major events that happened in my life during that time. I also start thinking about my goals and plans for next year (2008).
There isn't any fixed formula for performing a life audit, but obviously it should cover all the major areas of your life. You would want to analyse your successes as well as failures, and the lessons learned. You would identify the things you did well, and think about how you could have done them better.
You would consider all the different aspects of your life. These would include your career/studies; your family and friends; your health; your finances; your spiritual growth / religious life; your relationships; your passions and interests.
You would identify the biggest personal issues that bug you, and think of ways and ideas to address them. You would set some personal goals for next year, and why you're setting them, and you'd create a plan of action for each of those goals.
And within each plan, you would include little sub-targets and benchmarks and milestones to meet along the way (so that you can tell if you're still on track).
I imagine that performing a life audit could be a somewhat frightening experience for some people. That's because the vast majority of people on Planet Earth don't live anywhere as optimally as they potentially can. And a sizeable percentage of people, even by their own personal standards, probably live badly-managed lives.
And so they would rather avoid having to face up to those standards. If you're an obese chain-smoker with young children, it's not nice to consider the possibility that you might drop dead from a heart attack sometime soon and your kids will be orphaned.
If you're an angry, frustrated youth who doesn't know what he really wants out of life, it's not nice to consider the possibility that before long, you might be an angry, frustrated adult who still doesn't know he wants out of life.
If you've been stuck in a job that is meaningless and painful to you, it's not nice to realise that unless you take some concrete action to change things, you could continue to be stuck in a meaningless, painful job for a long time.
If you've had a lifelong dream which you still aren't pursuing, it's not nice to consider the possibility that it might one day transpire to be no more than a lifelong daydream.
And so on.
I suppose that's why many people would hesitate to perform a life audit. You would have to step back and take a good hard look at yourself, the warts included. That could be somewhat painful, sometimes.
One thing to remember is that your current situation, whether good or bad, didn't develop overnight. It took you your entire life, to get to where you are and who you are today. And you still have the rest of your life, to try to get to where and who you'd rather be.
The time will pass anyway. What have you got to lose?