People who keep journals have life twice. ~ Jessamyn West
Perhaps it’s rather narcissistic, but I occasionally find myself re-reading my old posts. They seem to act as a reminder; whether I am trying to accomplish something or create something new, the old helps in the shaping. Other times, it’s just a calming influence, a proof that there is some order to my world.
There is a value to reliving both my good times and my mistakes. Not only does it remind me not to make the same missteps or encourage me to try again, it creates a sense of history and a narrative that can be shared. In an online version of a journal my life becomes a little more transparent, and I find myself more accountable for the things I plan. If I say I will do something, perhaps someone will ask me about it later, to see how I am doing. What will my answer be if I don’t follow through with what I say I will?
We have lost the tradition of telling life stories in this world of sound bites and 18 minute long half-hour television programs. We rarely are storytellers ourselves. Instead, we read or watch. The oral tradition of times past has moved into a digital age, making this record of what I do and think an outgrowth of that story-telling urge.
There are many things I wish I could ask my parents about. Times when I was small, things that I vaguely remember happening or stories I only remember part of. The “Horace, My Pet Mountain Lion” ramble that my mother told hundreds of times and hundreds of ways, in a humorous, affected “lithp”. The time I let the cat lick one side of a cherry sucker while I licked the other. What my brothers liked to do and say. Had my mom or dad kept a journal or a written account of some of the mundane, day-to-day happenings, I think I’d read it with tenderness and thanks now that I don’t have them as touchstones.
The memories I have set down in these posts let me relive my personal experiences. Perhaps later they will let my girls relive a few things from their own stories.