I never thought I’d be sharing my journal entries, but here’s one from 10 years & 2 months ago:
“It is all too apparent that I’ve lost some interest in this whole journal-writing experiment. If I ever do decide to keep a journal again then I will have to force myself to write profound, eye-opening matters only. What good have I done myself for writing a bookful of goals never accomplished while I walk around with a handful of dreams? To what betterment can I connect this journal? This journal has led me to a revelation, and that is this: I realize that in 1 year 6 months I haven’t gotten anything done. Sure I can point to one thing or another and say, “See, I did THAT,” but I would be fooling myself. There is so much I could have done, but didn’t do. And so this journal ends in much the same way it began – with me only a couple of days smoke free, still in school…still drinking (here and there). I am still disappointed with my lack of progression. And this is not self-deprecating, depressed speech. It is true. Oh, well, life goes on. Life is like an auction and we are all participants. We pay for merchandise with our time, and success goes to the highest bidder. We have to sacrifice our “play” time, making it “work” time, and in the long run we reap the benefits. We all know this already, and we make the conscious decision to be at and remain where we are. So far this month I have not eaten ANY fast food. It’s a miniscule accomplishment, but right now, I’ll take what I can get.”
What was happening in my life at the time? (1) I had a son who was 1 year 6 months old. (2) I still had 1 year to go to complete my BA degree at USF. (3) Me and my sons mom were having major arguments. (4) I had been out of prison for 6 years but I was still in the process of rebuilding myself after having been incarcerated for 9 years. *This is something most people can’t relate to.
What do I like about this journal entry? (1) My favorite part of this entry is the following quote: “Life is like an auction and we are all participants. We pay for merchandise with our time, and success goes to the highest bidder.” I was pointing out that the greatest, most important currency we have is not money, but time. We invest our time in the things we value. You can always tell how badly you want something by how much time you’re willing to invest in it. I’m also thinking that, when I wrote this entry, somewhere in the back of my mind I was reminded of our justice system and how someone who commits a crime, if caught and convicted, pays with his time. He ends up DOING TIME for the laws he’s broken. Even now, I read these two sentences from a journal entry from so long ago, and it moves me. Time is the greatest currency, one of our greatest blessings. I’m happy to say that, right now, I spend more time in God’s word and prayer than I ever have in the past. (2) The other thing I like about this entry is that, even though I was obviously depressed and down when I wrote it, my laugh-at-all-costs attitude kind of shines through at the end. After sounding really hard on myself, I conclude by saying something like “I know this, this, and this is going horribly wrong, HOWEVER, on the bright side, I haven’t eaten any fast food.” I like this ability to interact with my humorous side that finally breaks through at the end.
What do I not like about this journal entry? I don’t like the tone of this journal entry. I sound depressed, and I most likely was. There were some things going on that would affect the rest of my life. Because of the constant arguing with my son’s mom, I didn’t want to be where I was. I didn’t want to spend another moment with my son’s mom, but I wanted to spend every waking moment with my son. I was trapped in a very challenging situation. Even the beginning of this entry starts out negatively, with me speaking unfavorably about writing, something I absolutely love to do. I start my journal entry saying that I’m losing interest in my “journal-writing experiment,” but then I continue writing in a journal for the next two years. What THAT says to me is that it was a really confusing time for me. Today, As I read the lines “I realize that in 1 year 6 months I haven’t gotten anything done” and “There is so much I could have done, but didn’t do,” I realize that it was not me who wrote those lines, I mean, it WAS me who physically picked up the pen, but those lines were inspired by people who sought to mold me into a version of myself that THEY approved of. I read those lines and I hear my son’s mom, I hear my dad. What I don’t like about this journal entry is the evidence I see of an inner war being fought, between what I want to do and what others would have me do, a war between individuality and conformity.
Final Thought: It’s likely this entry barely registered with me back then. I probably wrote it very quickly and moved on to other, more pressing, concerns. However, that seemingly insignificant journal entry from 10 years ago became my blog post of today. And now that I’m looking at that entry with fresh eyes, I feel as if I’ve learned something about myself, and I’m glad I chose to record my thoughts that day. I guess what I’m saying is, don’t be so quick to cast aside any of your living moments just because they don’t measure up to your, or someone else’s, definition of success. Those things that seem like trivial matters today can become the moments we learn from tomorrow.