List the years that you have been alive. Then, in a word, sentence or short paragraph, write down a significant memory from each year.
For years 1-4, maybe even years 1-8, you’re going to have to sit down with your parents and tap into their memories. It won’t be hard for them to come up with stories. Pull out the photo albums to make sure you’ve got the right memory for each particular year.
Distinguishing important memories from some years will be easy. The year you lost your virginity. The year you almost died. The year your first serious girlfriend dumped your ass and left you crying on the cold kitchen floor, pleading for just one more chance.
Some years won’t be so easy. You may have to make some calls and tap into the memories of friends who you hung out with during periods of time in which your own memory is kind of hazy. Some years just bleed together. Maybe you can’t quite put a finger on year 23, or 34, or 58. Thankfully, good friends have a way of remembering these years for us.
Other years, your most important memory might simply be a fragmentary piece of a fleeting moment in time, something that does not qualify as one of those significant life milestones, and yet it is without question the most significant memory you’ve got. The time you closed the door on a house for the last time. A midnight phone call that you didn’t answer, because you knew who was on the other end of the line. Reading a letter you weren’t supposed to know existed. Something someone said to you in one of those late night conversations that has shaped the way you think and feel to this very day.
This list — in the form of words, sentences, short paragraphs, or a combination of all three — is your life calling.