I used to tell my children as they practiced their daily jam writing – I insisted that they practice writing in spite of their resistance – that you often do not know what you are thinking until you start writing.
Around the time of my divorce, I stopped keeping a journal and I guess I quit being aware of what I am thinking. Do you ever experience that? Do you ever start to say something – either verbally or in written form – and then begin to open your heart and mind and be surprised by what is coming out of you?
That’s the reason to journal, to jam write, to just write – to know yourself.
I think one of the most challenging things about keeping a journal is the pain of finding out what you really think – and perhaps the dissatisfaction with the person you find staring back at you from the pages of your diary. Sometimes it is too disappointing, too painful, to face that person – and perhaps that is another reason not to journal.
But really, that is likely the best reason to journal.
Here I am, 51 years old, shocked that I have reached that age. It honestly feels like I was 35 just a few months ago, but it was actually more like – uhmmm – (quick calculation in the head) – about 200 months ago. That’s a lot of moon cycles. When I think about the reality that I have less time in front of me than I had behind me, it makes me more serious about making the time count. I used to think “making the time count” was all about doing good and honoring God and all that blah-blah but I realize now that the only thing that will really count – to me at least – is to look back on the life I was given and be satisfied with what I did with that gift. Frankly, it really won’t matter what anyone thinks of me if I am disappointed myself.
I think that is one of the blessings of getting older – I care less about what anyone thinks of me than I used to. I’ve lost friends and had relationships fracture – sometimes because I’ve been insensitive or a jerk, but just as often because I refused to be anyone other than who I am. I hope that going forward, people reject me because I am me, rather than because I jerky. Although I suppose one may argue that if the person I am is fundamentally “a jerk”, then they are rejecting me both for who I am and for being a jerk. Meh.
Sometime soon I am going to write about the story in Science that compared intuitive versus analytical minds and their respective inclinations – or lack thereof – towards faith. Stay tuned.