Every now and then it’s good to assess yourself. Asking questions and looking inward can help uncover things about ourselves that were there all along, but not fully articulated. It can clarify and highlight aspects of us that matter and form incentives for doing what we do. Or to do what we want.
Today, I had two hours at the salon where I was getting my hair coloured and cut. It was my “time out” to enjoy the attention, talk to my stylist and flip through magazines while the colour set. At the back of Vanity Fair I found an interview with Shonda Rhimes, the Executive Producer of several TV series, including the famous Grey’s Anatomy. She is also the author of Year of Yes, a book I highly recommend. I read through Shonda’s answers to the following questions and enjoyed them so much that I wanted to answer them for myself. And offer them up to inspire you to do the same.
I encourage you to take time to write down your answers to these questions. When you are done I bet you will be delighted that you considered these things about yourself. Think too of other questions that you might ask. Put them in your journal if you keep one. Make an effort to ask yourself a question every day to help you focus on what motivates you, what is bothering you or what you need to celebrate.
Write quickly and honestly. Don’t second guess yourself – your first answer will be the best answer.
Here are my answers:
What is your idea of perfect happiness? My perfect happiness is sitting on the beach in Maui in the early morning with my husband as we drink our coffee and talk to each other. It is our beloved ritual whenever we are there. What historical figure do you most identify with? Not that I am any where near her talent, but Maya Angelou. Her poetry inspires my own and teaches me to keep writing and keep becoming better. Which living person do you most admire? Oprah Winfrey. I got to travel with her and the audience to Australia in 2010 during the last season of her show. Who she is with the camera off most impressed me. She was kind, funny and wonderfully real. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Procrastination. I think of all the things I could have accomplished by now if I had just gotten on with them! What is the trait you most deplore in others? Condescension. We are all of us worthy of grace and honour. What is your greatest extravagance? Shoes. It’s a lifelong love affair. What is your favourite journey? Any trip that takes me to see my kids since they both live far away from me now. On what occasion do you lie? When I tell myself that I am ok when I am not. It bites me back. What do you dislike most about your appearance? My feet. I have always wished for pretty feet. What is your greatest regret? Not being a ballerina. It was not an option in small town Newfoundland but the dream never left me and people often ask me if I was a ballerina and tell me I look like one. Weird, but true. What or who is the greatest love of your life? My husband. He redefined love for me. When and where were you happiest? Right now, with my husband, in our home in Vancouver. I have a ritual every morning of looking out over downtown and standing in a moment of gratitude for our life and our city. Which talent would you most like to have? I wish I could play guitar and sing. Maybe I still can! What is your current state of mind? Happy. Life is good. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would stop worrying. It’s a waste of time. What do you consider your greatest achievement? My kids. I cannot believe they came out of my body! They are my joy. What is your most treasured possession? A book of poems, chasers of the light, by Tyler Knott Gregson. My husband bought it for me when we were dating. In the book, he marked with a heart the poems that represented how he loves me. I adore that! What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Getting old and not having done what you wanted to do and were capable of doing. Where would you like to live? Vancouver and Maui – time split between the two. What is your favourite occupation? Writer. I am that and it is my magic and my super power. What is your most marked characteristic? My hair. Big, unruly curls are my signature. What do you most value in your friends? Open, honest conversations. No limits. No judgement. All in. Who is your favourite hero of fiction? Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Her character as a woman manipulated in a man’s world and a victim of double-standards taught me to be a feminist. Who are your heroes in real life? My mother. She taught me that love is always beautiful. And my grandmother. She taught me to be myself even if others do not approve. What is it that you most dislike? Women mistreating other women in a world where we are still seeking equality with men. We need to stick together. How would you like to die? That’s tough. I am not ready to die yet. I have too much to do. But if I were to go I want it quick and painless. What is your motto? “Be the change you wish to see in the world” by Mahatma Gandhi. I can only change myself and thereby enable others to do the same.
I hope my answers have encouraged you to quiz yourself just as Shonda Rhimes moved me to do so. I left the salon today with fabulous new hair colour and a desire to share this “me” project with you. Have fun!