While traveling for work a few weeks ago a simple quote caught my eye in the latest Real Simple magazine (flying seems to be the only time I have for reading these days!). In the Your Words column the question was asked: What advice would you give your younger self? One woman shared remorse for not writing things down over the years. “You’ll want to record important dates (like when you had a major surgery) or precious knowledge (like Nancy’s colelslaw recipe). You think you can remember but it’s just not possible.”
Not only do I think Christine Baker from Waldwick, New Jersey is on to something but I experienced this up close and personal. After not enough sleep, too much work and lack of needed down time, I returned home from New York last weekend with a bad case of pneumonia. Unfortunately, I had experienced pneumonia two years ago — and although I remember being tired for many months, the whole sickness and recovery was a bit blurry. I couldn’t recall all the details…How many days was I in bed? How long before I had an appetite? When could I go for a run? And for how long did I not feel myself? All of these questions were running through my mind as I lay in Urgent Care, wanting life to normalize immediately!
Thankfully and perhaps as unlikely as it sounds, I had answers to all of my questions in my 5 Year Journal. Not only could I look back at the end of October 2013 and see how pneumonia rocked my world for a good chunk of time, but I was reminded how soon I jumped back into the every day life. This bit of knowledge, I later came to learn, was not necessarily a good thing!
I completely understand if this all seems a bit over-the-top for some of you. However, as time moves on, even being 41, I don’t remember every ailment or how I celebrated a birthday or how often my husband cooked or how early Spring arrived or my highs and lows with Brown Ink or whatever the occasion or event may have been. Although this 5 Year Journal holds only a few thoughts from each day and doesn’t necessarily allow my creativity to flow (that’s where my “other” journals step in), I’ve come to rely on these everyday thoughts, even the mundane ones. Each single day stands out on its own, each win or loss, thoughts, feelings, events. As I’ve looked back and reflected on this particular time in my life when pneumonia first appeared, a big old red flag popped up. Journaling gave me the ability to see why life needs to change a bit and take a different road this round of healing. And this is why I journal, to learn and to remember.