About a year ago, maybe more, I started writing (sporadically) in a journal and I’m quite surprised that I’ve kept it going, even though how I use it has changed.
I’ve always enjoyed the process of writing, this blog is testimony to that, but even before there was this place called the internet which I could pollute with the detritus of my mind I’ve always had a fondness for the written word. I can remember spending an evening with a girlfriend where we wrote down questions and answers for each other, passing sheets of paper back and forth. Even then, as a naive teenager, I realised that I preferred that form of communication over, say, actually telling someone what you thought.
Of course I’ve grown up a bit since then, not much mind you, but I still fall back on the written word and the process of writing as a way to get a handle on things I don’t really understand.
- Why do I get so annoyed when plans change?
- What was it that happened that makes me cringe when I have to get my hands dirty?
- Am I inherently lazy and selfish or is there more to me than that?
The last few years have been amazing and I’ve learned so much about myself, about who I am (rather than who I want to be), and where my life may be heading. I’ve written a lot in my journal, not all of it has been positive, sometimes I wrote in anger, letting the emotions drive the words knowing that that flash of emotion would fade quickly, sometimes I paused to recognise just how many blessings I have to count, and sometimes it’s good to reflect on how lucky I am. The over arching theme remains though, it’s a place where I dump my thoughts so they can stew for a while.
More recently I’ve been looking back over what I’ve written, seeing the change in tone and in emphasis as I start to understand things better. I can see that I’ve made steps to put myself in a better place, some of which I’ve mentioned here, and that even in the past six months things have, once again, changed for the better. Of course it’s not all about how wonderful my life is (it is pretty fucking wonderful to be honest), and there will always be days which are challenging but, as I learnt recently, there is no such thing as a good day or a bad day, they are all just days and there is always a tomorrow, a new day, lurking around the corner.
With those realisations I notice that I’m now using my journal much more as a memory store. I’ve started feeding in other data, not just the random wanderings of my brain, but the photos I take, the places I’ve been, the music I’ve listened to, and I’m finding that has value as well (not just because my memory is awful!).
In fact it’s occurring to me now that, whilst I’ve struggled to instil new habits in other parts of my life, my journal has been a constant companion for a few years now. I wonder what it’ll feel like to look back on it in another year or two. Where will I be then? WHO will I be then?
For once I don’t really care about the answers to those questions, I will be wherever I am and I’ll be whoever I’ve become, but I do know I’m really looking forward to finding out.