On birthday questions

Last week, I turned 35.

On the one hand, a lot has changed over the last 12 months.

It's been another year of choosing not to drink alcohol. Aleesha and I moved to Miami and made it our home base. I had many ups and downs while working on edgi, the startup that I co-founded. At the beginning of this year, I decided to take a step back and go on a sabbatical. I started this blog and a few other projects, and have dedicated the year to getting to know myself better.

On the other hand, it doesn't feel like a lot has changed.

After all, aging is an incremental experience. The day before I turned 35, I was 34 years and 364 days old. Everything that happened, happened gradually, one day at a time.

Regardless of how I did or did not perceive the changes in my life over the last year, my birthday felt extra special this year.

My parents were visiting us from India, and as it turns out, my dad and I share a birthday. We went go-karting (well, I did), watched Oppenheimer (highly recommend), and ate some delicious paneer tikka masala and daal makhani (yum). All of this was in Seattle, where I was grateful to spend a few weeks this summer with my favorite people.

In what has become a birthday ritual, I turned my phone off for 48 hours to focus on just being. I also gave myself a break from writing and instead spent a lot more time reading than I usually do. All in all, it was simple but memorable.

In the spirit of getting to know myself better, I also wrote a list of reflection questions for my future birthdays.

  1. Have I lived up to the values I cared most about a year ago i.e. authenticity, adventure, and wisdom? Do these values still align with who I am today?
  2. How can I become a better partner, family member, and friend this year?
  3. Who do I want to spend more or less time with in the next 12 months?
  4. Am I dedicating enough time to doing things I enjoy with people I care about?
  5. What do I want my life to look like in 5 years?
  6. What have I learned in the past year, and what do I want to learn more about this year?
  7. What have I changed my mind about and why?
  8. What am I willing to give up to improve my life?
  9. What am I avoiding that I should confront?
  10. What is the meaning of life mean according to me? How has my perspective evolved?

Although I can’t predict how I will answer these a year from now, I plan to share my responses here.