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November 9, 2015

From early high school until the end of university I kept a journal.  I carried it with me almost everywhere I went and seized random chances to write.  As a result I wrote most days of the week.  I have all those journals/notebooks in a box in my storage room.

A few weeks ago, while preparing to share about someone I was friends with during that period of my life, I pulled down that box and skimmed several of those journals.  They are filled will emotions and feelings and ponderings about life, love, God, the future… As it turns out, they don’t contain as much detail about the specifics of what I doing on a day to day basis as I had hoped they would.  In fact, it appears that I took for granted that I would remember the specifics of who, what, where, etc..

I don’t journal anymore.  And despite the lack of specific detail in my journals for 20 years ago, I am glad they exist.  I enjoy being reminded of what I was thinking about and figuring out at that point in my life.  I like that while I can’t remember all the details of events and the things that happened, the causal references to events, tells about things I didn’t remember.  Perhaps because they were the events and things I took for granted.

I’ve been thinking about why I stopped journaling and considering doing it again.  I often thought that stopped journaling because with time my life contained less drama that I needed to work through.  But in reflecting over the past 20 years, I don’t think that’s really true.  There are still many ideas and experiences I need to ponder and work through and consider.  I just don’t write them down.  At this point in my life, I can type faster than I can write. But I don’t carry a laptop with me everywhere I go (although I do keep thinking of the scene at the end of every Doogie Howser episode where he typed a few lines on his computer – at the time I’m sure it was very cutting edge).  I still love a good notebook, but I don’t value the act of slowing down and writing about how I feel.   And perhaps most importantly, my desire to have a record of my life isn’t stronger than my inability to choose a format (computer vs. notebook).

I don’t know if you journal or not.  As someone who once did and now doesn’t, I kind of wonder if it’s a lost art.  Lost in the busy-ness of life.  But I think there was great value in writing down what I was feeling and who I was wanting to be.  And that doesn’t need doesn’t go away when we get past high school and university age.

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