From the series: Life on Dog Hill
A couple of months ago, I posted the first 20 of 95 questions posed by Marc and Angel Hack Life, a blog written by a couple who inspires their readers to reflect on the meaning of life. The 95 questions came from their posting of 95 Question to Help you Find Meaning and Happiness. The scope of Marc and Angel Hack’s site is to make you reflect upon life. This reflection prompted me to make certain that my seven children knew me as I know myself. That meant answering all 95 questions as honestly as I could and then asking my children to read the autobiographical responses.
Along the way I wanted to share “lessons learned” with my kids. So after each question, I add a short message in the hopes of inspiring them to learn from my wiser, more experienced, self-reflecting self.
The 20 questions I respond to in this post brings the grand total of self-revealing responses to 60! Once I’ve completed all 95, I’ll be interested to know from my kids which responses surprised them most. Stay tuned!
1. What are you known for by your friends and family?
Do we really know what others think of us? I would like to think that my friends and family know me as warm, loving and open-minded. Let me do a quick survey and get back to you… okay, here’s the top three from my family: Loving, caring and honest. Not bad, I think I like it!
Message to my kids: Here’s the first word that I thought of for each of you. Jessica: savvy; Katy: entertaining; JJ: intense; Nate: generous; Alex: focused; Sergei: easy-going; Ryan: loving! More importantly, what word would you use to describe yourself?
2. What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I’m a thrift shop junkie. Can’t turn down a chance to find the hidden treasure!
Message to my kids: Shadows remain until the light is just right.
3. What’s a common misconception people have about you?
Some people who don’t know me may think I’m unapproachable. The truth is, however, that I’m actually very shy — especially in groups of people. Unless, of course, I’m facilitating or emceeing an event, then the actor in me steps out.
Message to my kids: Consistency is the best way to build a reputation.
4. What’s something a lot of people do that you disagree with?
Judge others for having a different set of beliefs.
Message to my kids: Though we choose our friends, we still live amongst the world.
5. What’s a belief you hold with which many people disagree?
I believe that sexual orientation and expression are in our DNA. For this reason, I believe that the LGBT community is egregiously discriminated against and that the primary offender is the person who judges on the basis of their religious beliefs. I reference this in my work of crime fiction, Truth Runs Deep.
Message to my kids: Don’t let ideology forge its way into your conscious, least you be fooled by idiocy.
6. What’s something that’s harder for you than it is for most people?
Simple things. I have a way of making even the most rote activities challenging. I blame it on the fact that I’m a recovering perfectionist.
Message to my kids: Don’t worry about getting good at the stuff that’s hard for you; it’s much more productive to become even better at the stuff you do well!
7. What are the top three qualities you look for in a friend?
I don’t look for friends. Those that I have are always pleasant surprises!
Message for my kids: The people with whom you spend your time shapes the reputation that follows you long after your friends have gone…
8. If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend?
A lifetime! I praise myself to no end — now, if only I could get the rest of the world to see me as I see myself!
Message to my kids: If you can’t be gentle and love your whole self, how can you truly love another?
9. When you think of ‘home,’ what, specifically, do you think of?
The first line in the song Home sung by Diana Ross in the musical The Wiz. “When I think of home, I think of a place where there is love overflowing…”
Message to my kids: If you ever feel like no one loves you then you haven’t been home!
10. What’s the most valuable thing you own?
My life. Hopefully nobody will put a price on it!
Message to my kids: If you have the ability to stoop down to pick up and appreciate a single penny, just imagine how much regard you will have for a billion pennies!
11. If you had to move 3000 miles away, what would you miss most?
The answer to this question would depend on whether I moved North, South, East or West!
Message to my kids: Traveling far and wide is valuable education that supplements any university degree.
12. What would make you smile right now?
I smile easily so how about I describe the next thing to make me smile. (Two minutes later…) My three-legged min-pin just climbed into my lap to get warm. That made me smile…
Message to my kids: Someone who is difficult to please will always be difficult.
13. What do you do when nothing else seems to make you happy?
I turn inward and tell myself about all the things for which I can be grateful. How can anyone be unhappy when they are in a state of gratitude?
Message to my kids: Only you can be responsible for your feelings…
14. What do you wish did not exist in your life?
Message to my kids: When you think of barriers and constraints as stimulating mental challenges, then nothing will ever stand in the way of you achieving your goals.
15. What should you avoid to improve your life?
Message to my kids: What makes you happy? What makes you smile? If you want to improve your life, just add more of those two things…
16. What is something you would hate to go without for a day?
Coffee. My family would hate for me to go without it too…
Message to my kids: When you really want to hear your inner voice, go for a day without using your outer one.
17. What’s the biggest lie you once believed was true?
Hard work pays off. The reality is that hard work may pay but for it to “pay off” you also must have good connections and know how to work them!
Message to my kids: The grass may be green and the sky may be blue, but therein remains a world of variation.
18. What’s something bad that happened to you that made you stronger?
Someone stopped loving me.
Message to my kids: Self-reliance is the most important skill to hone.
19. What’s something nobody could ever steal from you?
Message to my kids: Defensiveness never fixes what others see in you that you don’t see in yourself.
20. What’s something you disliked when you were younger that you truly enjoy today?
Beer. I developed my affinity for beer one summer when hiking up the side of a mountain in Germany. We didn’t have any water with us and half-way up the mountain was a little restaurant that only sold beer. I’ve been a beer drinker ever since!
Message to my kids: It’s amazing what you discover about yourself when pushed outside your comfort zone!
Thanks for continuing the journey with me — 60 questions down and 35 to go! So how about you? What would make YOU smile right now?