In November, my youngest daughter gave me a little book titled, “Experience Passport: 45 Ways to Broaden Your Horizons” because, in her words, it is my “kind of thing,” which is true. The back cover reads: “Where will today take you? This passport grants you access to life-enriching experiences. Break out of your routine, learn something new, and discover the world of inspiration around you.” Woo hoo! Let’s go!
It was a bumpy start. I asked my daughter to pick a number between one and forty-five to get me going, and she went with thirty-two, which read, “Draw a self-portrait every day for thirty consecutive days. At the end of that time, describe how your portraits evolved.”
Well, I completed that task yesterday, and let’s just say that I discovered the answer to a longstanding question of mine as to whether I could be any uglier. It turns out: Yes.
Most of the self-portraits were tight-lipped because the few times I tried drawing teeth looked like I was conducting electrical experiments inside of my mouth. One night, while watching the local news, an artist rendering of a robbery suspect made me question my whereabouts on December 6, at least according to that day’s self-portrait. My Christmas Day attempt at drawing a Santa hat on my bald head looked a little too much like the Grinch.
So what is so “life-enriching” about drawing terrible pictures of myself for thirty days? Is it that my nose improved (the drawing, that is; the real one remains pretty massive)? Is it that in a mere thirty days my self-portraits are slightly less terrible?
Not too inspiring, eh?
On reflection, however, I think that the exercise is worthwhile simply for the metaphor: Spend thirty days closely scrutinizing yourself, blemishes and all, and if you can handle it, you can more accurately determine how to be a better version of you. You know, Michael Jackson, Man in the Mirror, and all that.
The end of one calendar year and the beginning of a new one is apparently a great time for self-reflection, so I encourage you to take a long, hard look at yourself, warts and all, and set out to produce the very best rendition of you. I just spent thirty days trying to do it with a #2 pencil and a sketch pad.
My Best Attempt