Hello, friend! So glad to see you for another weekly wintering. I recently watched the amazing Cathy Hay’s new year resolution video. Okay, I am fully aware it’s February, but it’s never too late for a fresh start, right? Right. So, anyway, in her video, Cathy encourages you to begin (or pick back up) journaling.
I have a confession to make.
I have kept a journal (off and on) since I was six years old. I’ll never forget the Christmas Shop my elementary school hosted, where they sold small, mostly-cheap items. If you earned enough “bucks” in class, you could maybe buy something good. The square plastic diary had a boombox on the softcover, and a lock and key to protect your most secret secrets. I can’t remember all I did to earn enough, but I still remember holding that diary for the first time, and immediately penning my very important thoughts.
I kept up the practice of journaling as I grew older. I fell off a bit in intermediate and middle school when I got serious about writing my own stories. I was too busy typing on my grandpa’s old typewriter to bother writing down much in a diary besides bad poetry.
Of course, high school is a veritable gold mine of drama and angst, and I suddenly picked up journaling with a frenzy during those and my first college years. Those embarrassing volumes are filled to the brim with “this boy” “that boy,” and “the depths of my soul.”
But they are also filled with things I had forgotten, like the exact feelings I had the first time I kissed my first love. Or the day I interviewed my WW2 Veteran Nurse grandmother and penned our conversation in shorthand. There were highlights of countries I traveled to, moments I had forgotten that had been so important at the time.
About a month before watching Cathy Hay’s video, I pulled out my high school journals “for research.” I’ve had an idea for a YA novel/novella series for some time, but I wanted to step back into the shoes of Fifteen. Boy, did my journals deliver. It was enough to have me suddenly stalking people on Facebook I hadn’t cared to look up in ages. Reading about the memories, the emotions, really carried me back.
I have another confession to make.
I haven’t consistently journaled in years. Ironically, it was soon after I met my husband, and began our new very busy, and often difficult life together. Instead of writing about my day-to-day life, I only write down the big moments, and occasionally when I need that catharsis. I’m often too busy doing other things like being a mom, reading, doing yoga, or playing video games when I’m not working. It seemed like such a silly thing to write down my daily thoughts if it wasn’t in a planner or another entry in my author journal.
But what about all those little things? The things we forget about, the quiet moments when we begin to realize something we may have forgotten? The times when we find resilience that gets lost in the face of tougher days?
Inspired by Cathy Hay’s video, I decided to try writing about the small things the other day. I wrote in the parking lot, waiting in line to pick up my kid from PreK. I found myself writing about my son, about the things he says sometimes, the ways I’m proud of him, and it struck me then in a way it hasn’t in a while.
Who’s going to read these when I’m gone? (or before I’m gone if I’m feeling nice at 80 😉
What if I write to that future reader, to my son, or his future kid? What messages would I want them to hear, and how many little things do we gloss over that would mean the world to someone else in the future? Suddenly, it didn’t feel like vanity to talk about what’s going on in my relatively quiet life. It doesn’t matter how dull or boring our lives seem to us now. There’s a reason we still read journals and diaries from the past. There are things happening in our lifetimes that should be recorded.
I had this fantasy when I was a small child, of climbing into the attic of some relative and uncovering a box filled with letters, or even a single diary. I dreamed about all the things I’d learn about this person who lived before me, who helped in a way make up who I was. Sadly, I never was so lucky. But I like to think someone, someday, will find that box in the attic. And they will be overwhelmed with the stacks of journals and diaries. At the top, will be a small square diary with a faded boombox in neon colors.
Goals for this week
Read another chapter of Sorcerer’s Stone to my kid.