Your Whole Life at a Glance
On the many hikes after I just arrived here on Rødøy, I thought a lot about life. Perhaps it was because I had to walk by the graveyard at least twice a day. The nursing home is right next to the graveyard. I wondered what they were thinking, staring day-in and day-out at a destiny that sucks.
The hikes took me to the top of the peaks on Rødøy with panoramic views of the open sea. In the climax of the movie “Ratatouille”, the waiter asks a rude but important food critic, “Sir, what would like to have?” “Perspective,” he said. Then, the rat-chef makes a devastating ratatouille that sends the food critic tumbling down memory lane of his childhood in bucolic French countryside — an intensely moving scene. Perhaps, there is a way to get a perspective on my life, as if looking at it from a mountain top. And I came up with one.
First, there has to be a linear time line. Our brains play tricks with time in the past, so we have to force ourselves to look at time for what it is, a constant drumbeat. A year wasted in life is still a year that one could’ve spent writing if just one good sonnet.
Second, you have to layout what’s important to you across the linear time line scale. Is it family? Career? Romance? Friendship? Travel? Learning? Pets? And for each area, think about it either in milestones, or in periods of time, depending on if you’re journey-oriented or a goal oriented person.
Third, you have to lay this out on a A4 or Letter-sized sheet of paper. That means it’d force you only put down things that are important.
Last, this is for nobody else but me. I can’t get perspective on life unless I’m honest with myself. What do the people in that nursing home think when they look at a new grave with fresh flowers?
I call this tima-lina, time-line in Icelandic which is close to old Norse. Here’s what a tima-lina looks like, drawn with publicly available information about me:
Maybe you should do one, too? I promise it won’t be a waste of time.
By the way, if you’re a good programmer and have some spare cycles, would you please build this in a Web app?