Out With the Old

What I’m listening to: In the Name of Love: Artist United for Africa (which has a great cover of “40”)

I’m in the process of packing – I’m moving at the end of the month and last night I came across my old journals. And wasn’t that a trip.

Those of you who know me pretty well know that I’m a writer, but not really. I write copy nearly everyday at my job – press releases, ad copy and whatnot. I’m hardly a professional, nor do I aspire to be. I like to write, but I’m not great at it. The discipline it takes to be a great creative writer is something I’ve never taken much time with. And one of those disciplines is journal writing. But I have a few filled up from over the years. And I uncovered some I’d forgotten even existed.

I’ve never been very regular with writing in a journal, but from 2000-2004 (missing most of 2003) I had one journal I wrote in quite a bit. Some of the entries I read now and can hardly recognize that person. Nor can I understand why I write what I wrote or felt what I felt. I seemed so naive. So young. And honestly? So defeated.

I’m incredibly emotional creature (yes, I heard those of you that just blurted out “no, really?” in sarcasm) and when I write in my journals it truly is off-the-cuff, like my writing is here. And I really needed to remind myself of that as I looked through my old writing. I was crazy. My mind was spinning back to those years, wondering what in the world I was thinking. I wondered why I was so hurt over something so small, why I was so worried about nothing, and why I ignored the big picture.

Process is very important to me. When I need to respond to something that’s affected me, I need days, even weeks, to respond thoughtfully and clearly. I love that process. Not in the sense that I seek it out – I don’t, because it can be awful. But I’m not an emotional reactor – I’m just an emotional thinker. I need that time to formulate the best words possible to express myself. And those old journal entries often reflected the process, not the end result. So it’s no wonder I read them and shook my head at my behavior.

I’m ashamed to say the lessons I learned back them – well, not all of the stuck with me. I’ve repeated some of the same mistakes I made years ago with the same consequences. The same results. Should I expect anything less? No, but I should expect more of myself. I’m awfully good at self-introspection. So I’m proud to say I’m know myself better than I ever have. What I want to move towards is being the best child of God I can be in this moment he’s given me. Which I don’t believe will be accomplished by looking back.

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