I have been reviewing my old journals, under the theory that I (a) finally have the free time (b) have been keeping a journal for some decades (c) might as well. A number of thoughts:
- I have been impulsive all my life. I get wonderful ideas, and then I act on them, without any intervening consideration. And then, because I decided in my twenties that I should work on being consistent, I persist in pursuing my wonderful ideas. For decades. I am not sure this is sensible. It’s too late to reconsider now.
- When I examine my childhood, my early adulthood, and my current life, I reflect that I am the same person I was when I was completely dysfunctional. I just completely accepted the quirks of my brain at some point, and that has made all the difference.
- My advice to people who keep journals and photographs with the idea of getting around to reviewing and organizing them some day, and perhaps of putting together a memoir or a set of scrapbooks that you can leaf through when you are old and gray? THROW MOST OF IT OUT before you start. Please, I beg you.
- One year, I went through all my mother’s files, photographs, sermons, and reflections, which I stored in my cellar. It was long after she died. The process aggravated my allergies, and I did not know who most of the people were. She was too ill to tackle it herself before it was too late, so I forgive her.
- The problem with organization systems, for the terminally disorganized, is that you keep adding new ones and then you need an organization system to keep track of your organization systems, because you forget where you put that list. Also, put not your faith in apps or cloud storage.
- People talk about keeping gratitude lists to cheer them up. I prefer grievance lists. They are much more entertaining, and they have great explanatory power. It can be reassuring to know that I had a very good reason for being overwhelmed when I was in my fifties, for example.
- I regret very little, because apparently I have done everything that ever occurred to me. What a ridiculous life it has been so far.