We binge-watch a whole lot of TV shows nowadays. But have you ever binge-watched your life? I’ve been doing it for some time and let me tell you: it’s a lot of fun.
Finding unexpected nods to your past in your present is sometimes mindblowing.
Two days ago, I took a whiteboard at home and although I was planning on writing ideas, my hand decided otherwise. It started drawing random patterns in one line. I let myself continue and at the end realized that 12 years ago, I had met a Belgium guy who often drew in that way. Nothing incredible here. But it was interesting seeing his habit pop up in my life so long after.
Sometimes, you notice negative patterns too.
After breaking up with my last girlfriend, I noticed I suddenly wanted to look at pictures of her all the time. That’s something I’ve done many times after my breakups but it was the first time to do so when I was the instigator of it. That got me thinking about what triggered it. Turns out it was because, even though I instigated it, I didn’t like the prospect of my life without her.
Doesn’t sound fun? Well, let me try to help you understand why it is. And why it’s useful too!
What we’ve done and experienced in our past defines who we are now. Who we will be tomorrow changes based on the actions we take today and, as a result, the past impacts our future.
If you understand your past, you hold the keys to your future.
Now, how will you get your hands on these keys? That’s the real question
Focus on topics
Once a week, choose a topic and spend your week taking note of what you do or what happens to you in relation to it.
Let’s say you chose the topic of games. Spend that week being mindful of your relationship with games. What triggered you to start playing this week? For how long do you play? What kind of games do you play?
Then, look back at your memories in relation to games. Were the answers to the above questions different in the past? In which way? How did you evolve? Why did that evolution happen?
Write those down and move on to the next topic. Now it’s time to talk about friends. Has your circle evolved? In which way? Who’s still here? Why did those friendships hold the test of time? What was different for others? What type of friends did you use to have? What kind of conversations did you use to have?
Write the answers down again and move on. Keep doing that for a few months. Maybe even a year. You can even do it for the rest of your life, going more into details!
Start reflecting and binge-watching specific aspects of your past life. You’ll discover patterns, mindsets, and evolutions you’ve gone through.
Cross-reference it all
The Marvel Universe does it best. There are TV shows and movies that don’t appear connected at all. Yet, as time passes by, they intertwine and what happened in the movie then has an impact on Season 2 of one of the TV shows. Can you still appreciate the season without watching the movie? Yes. But it gets even better when you know the whole story.
Your life has an endless pit of cross-references you can use to make it better.
When I was 4 years old, my dad made a video of an “interview” he did with me. I, of course, had no memory of it. But it turned out that, at that age, I told him I’d leave home and go across the world, talking in every language in the world. Back then, I barely spoke my mother tongue — French — but I became addicted to learning languages when I was 17. More than a decade later!
And you know what else was triggered by my love of languages? My curiosity grew manifold, which impacts my daily life now.
So, after you have a bunch of answers ready, it’s time for you to cross-reference them. Find patterns between topics. Look for reasons behind these. And then do some more cross-referencing.
For me, it’s time to go back to working on that 4 years old kid’s dream. Back to studying some more languages.
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Mathias Barra is a French polyglot living in Japan and who has learned 6 languages and dabbled in numerous others. Being a curious child full of wonders is how he keeps on learning and can’t stop sharing about every tiny idea, even non-language-related.