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Recently, I did an experiment that gave me some clarity on what I care about. For Day 13, I thought I’d share that with you all:

Close your eyes. Imagine you are 100 years old and it is your birthday, and a few friends are gathered around a table. On top of the table sits a birthday cake, with a few lit candles. There is silence in the room. As you close your eyes and lean in to blow the candles, what images flash in your mind? What did you most value about your life? What are you most grateful for?

Before I share what images came to my mind, I’d urge you to close your eyes and do the experiment yourself.

The following images appeared for me:

  1. Dogs - My relationship with dogs has always felt pure. Something about the simplicity, loyalty and affection makes it special beyond words. I’d like to have at least one dog at each point in my life. If I live to a 100, that’s roughly 5 dogs in my lifetime.
  2. Romantic relationship(s) - In a romantic relationship, I’m able to feel my complete self, and experience complete connection with the other. The relationships I’ve shared so far (and will share in the future) will always hold a special place in my heart.
  3. Friends and family - As I’ve moved cities and environments, I’ve said a lot of goodbyes. But the people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve shared mean the world to me, and this will continue to be true for everyone I meet from here on.
  4. Career - I’d like to have some contribution to the world, and I’m trying to figure out how to best bring that to life. One way I think of this is intergenerationally. We live long and happy lives due to the hard work of our ancestors. What can I do to help my kids and their kids live longer and happier lives than us?

What I found interesting about the experiment was that nothing else mattered. I didn’t care how many pounds I could deadlift in my twenties, what grade I got in school, how much money I earned, or how many matches I got on dating apps. All that I cared about was captured in these four images.

It also felt meaningful to recognize the importance of images 1, 2, and 3. A lot of my efforts are focused on career, and I wonder how much day-to-day unhappiness comes from neglecting the non-career aspects of our lives.

If you haven’t already, I would love if you could close your eyes and do the experiment. I want to hear what images come to your mind. They may be similar, but I want to hear what you learn about yourself that you hadn’t realized before. Take care!

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