I've come to develop a tradition for myself over the last few years. Normally I wouldn't consider myself a traditional person. I hate doing things for the sake of doing them. Yet, I've found that there's nothing wrong with establishing your own traditions as long as there's good reason.
I found one good reason to ask everyone two questions on their birthday, and it's completely selfish. I figured I would try to distill or extract the most valuable things that a person has learned within the last year, for my own benefit of course. I mean, imagine if you could distill the knowledge of all of your close friends and family into a guide for yourself. Imagine all the concepts and learnings that you could apply to your own life. Well, I've found myself asking friends, family and strangers two questions on their birthday.
What's your favorite memory from last year?
What's the most important thing that you learned in the last year?
I love both of them because they're both simple. One is intellectual, usually, and the other is emotional. The first question allows you to pry at the most formative moments of the last year while the other gives you some concrete takeaways.
I've become known for asking these questions enough where even I receive the same queries each year.
Here are my responses for last year:
Allyanna: What's your favorite memory from the last year?
Me: When we were on our mountain bike ride with Velo and seeing him look up at me. When I was thinking about getting a dog, one of the things I was most excited about was the idea of taking them on a mountain bike ride with me.
Allyanna: What's the most important thing that you learned in the last year?
Me: That when someone acts in a way that's surprising to you in the moment, but it aligns with the way they've behaved in the past, you shouldn't be surprised by their actions. You know.
Here are the responses from Albert Wintermote (my partner (Allyanna Wintermote's father)) for this year:
Me: What's your favorite memory from the last year?
Albert: The birth of our new grandson Zahir and the relationship with his mother.
Me: What's the most important thing that you learned in the last year?
Albert: This one is more work related. I've grown to understand with my new supervisor that I need to grow and push in my role in my own ways.