Saturday, June 27, 2015

Dear Diary,

My relationship with journals is almost identical to the relationships I have with men. I pick one that usually catches my eye, something a little different but always really cute. Maybe it even has like gold pages or some little profound saying on the front. I get pretty excited about the blank pages and and starting over.. because you know that last one is only full of pages I don't care to relive. But eventually that one gets old too, and those pages are made into grocery lists...
I know that this sounds awful. But hold on.
There are two journals that have withstood the test of time and my fickle heart. Two very important little things housing my most vulnerable moments and some of my most beautiful memories. 

The red one. I sought this one out when I was 21 (those pages are definitely not my favorite to reread.) And I've written in it ever since. Sure, there are long stretches of months that go by with nothing to report or no time to share it. But always, I go back to it. Usually when something is troubling me or when I'm feeling inspired. These are the pages that are interesting to reread. I often turn to my past level-headed self and read the advice she has given me when her head was clear and she wrote with purpose. I am grateful for her for taking the time back then to sit down and spill her guts out. 
Inside, the pages cling to their spine, fragile from the few that I have torn out (with good reason, I'm sure.) Tucked in the creases are napkin doodles, a note in my mother's handwriting, pictures of my 6 year old self, and a map of Bali. Even love poems.

I am so thankful for this little bound book and the little stories it keeps. It's the first thing I would save in a fire, no doubt.

And there is the other. A 5 Year Journal that I was gifted for Christmas a few years back. This is year three and I cannot explain how much I have enjoyed writing its daily entries. Each day there is a prompt or a question to answer, discretely mapping your day to day life for half of a decade. Each day you can compare yourself to the person you were over the years, laughing at your responses or remembering things you had nearly forgotten. Some pages question you about your biggest regret,  some prompt you for a haiku about your day, others are simply asking how much change you have in your wallet. Regardless of the day or the question, it is a beautiful journey to travel with your self. 

Since reading old journal entries has almost always resulted in a cringe and a pile of torn out pages, I used to think it was a bad idea to reread your journals. But when I look back at these pages and what I had to say, I can recognize that I'm revisiting the moments that formed me. I get to travel back in time each time that I read an old entry. It's magic. I encourage everyone to keep a journal and use it as a place to be open and honest. Don't write as if someone will ever read it, do not censor yourself. Spill your guts out. You'll be really glad that you did, I promise. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Me & Charlie Talking.

     As humans, we change constantly. Our style evolves, our taste in companions and music change, and our minds are never actually made up. We're growing each and every day, navigating our way through life through experience and belief.
     A recent school assignment has lead me to Charlie, a seventy-three year old woman who lives in my neighborhood. The project is to create a blog about an elderly person, to tell their story, and to listen as they reflect on their lives. Within the first few hours of knowing Charlie, she opened my eyes to what she believes are the three things humans require to survive. Somebody to love. Something to do. And something to believe in. 
     At this particular point in my life, these are the things that I find myself desiring or questioning most. Falling in love is easy and I've done it frequently throughout the years. A serial girlfriend by all accounts, I've found myself entering and exiting many relationships with little time in between. Since moving to Austin, I've had some time to myself to realize that this is all I need right now. Love for myself is more than enough. Whoever it is that you have to love, hang onto them. Love is a light source, love is a gift, love is the most special thing you can ever know. 
    Doing what you are passionate about is exactly what you should be doing. Where ever that takes you is exactly where you need to be. And whether it is through your career, your hobbies, or through the love you have for your cat, you have to find what you're passionate about. This passion is what will save you when you're doubting everything else. This passion is what will remind you why you wake up with purpose every morning. And if you haven't found it yet, find it, and let it fuel you.
    Charlie's beliefs made me explore my own. And she's right, everyone also needs something to believe in. Something that brings you a great deal of comfort when life is making you uneasy. Maybe it is your faith, maybe it is the yoga that you practice, maybe it is your own personal philosophy. Whatever it may be, let it guide you.
    Be healthy, be human. And let yourself enjoy the beautiful things life is offering you.