Late-Night Thoughts on Journaling, Remembered the Next Day at 4 PM

The strangest thing about blogging is that people know more about my life than I realize. I suppose I assume that it’s just my mother reading my posts, so it’s shocking when someone brings up that time when I got stuck in the ATM vestibule in Spain or when I took my first Czech lesson. You see, I’ve always journaled. Publishing my blogs doesn’t mean that I’ve become more introspective or reflective of my life – it just means that you guys are actually seeing the journals that I would have written regardless of the internet being my only publisher.

I’ve been journaling since I was in 5th grade. I remember a small notebook with a cover that was filled with blue liquid and flat, plastic flowers, so that they moved about in the squishy cover. It was very cool. I was 11. I remember thinking of journaling as a way to document the mundane – a way to share “real life” with my future daughter. That’s always how I viewed my ‘audience’ and even how I explicitly addressed it. “Dear Daughter…” or “Daughter, know this:” I’ve always been one to consolidate and compare, obsessed with the then and now, the before and after. But who isn’t?

I remember certain occasions of putting my thoughts in that journal, and I’m grateful for that, because had I not remembered where I was when I first wrote about my 5-year crush on Curt Simpson, I probably wouldn’t remember that I had had a 5-year crush on Curt Simpson. (Ha! Like I could forget that.) I remember documenting this one-sided love affair in the loft of my oldest sister’s college apartment while she took one of her famous afternoon naps and my other sister played on the computer (I lost that battle, journaling was choice #2). Years later, when I was attending the same college, I would live in the same apartment building and remember those stairs where we lay our painted ceramic pots to dry before wrapping them for our mother for Christmas. Merry Christmas, Mom! We painted some snowmen on these pots for you. Because nothing says ‘thriving house plant’ like Frosty.

When I was in 9th grade, I took my journaling to the computer, under either a password-protected Word document or a cleverly named document, not entitled, “Lauren’s Journal – STAY OUT!” I had learned that lesson early on, thankyouverymuchCourtney. No, this was probably called “Compare/Contrast Essay, Mrs. Williams,” ‘cause who wants to read that? Probably not even Mrs. Williams, to be honest. That journal is the only one I’ve ever lost. It was 40 pages of early tumultuous teenage years, when I got my first boyfriend and started wondering what I would do with the rest of my life. People told me, “You’re 14 – you have plenty of time to decide.” Liars. Anyway, that computer crashed and it was before I knew about external hard drives, or even how to email documents to yourself for safe-keeping. I learned my lesson.

And now, with the year 2011 coming to an end, I have 173 pages filled with thoughts from this year in the only format that I can organize them. And I’m so very glad that I wrote so much this year – because I would hate to forget it.

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