Lessons from a 1975 Journal

I’ve kept journals since I was 18 years old.

That is a lot of journals.

journals

In my snowed-in free time, I decided to start typing journal entries into my computer.

I imagined the thrill of searching for names of people, places, and things I’ve written about and then compiling them into stories.

In my ambitiousness, I dug out my journal from my freshman year in college, and started typing away.

I only made it through four months before realizing that at that rate, I could be hunched over my computer for the rest of my life – or at least until I’m wondering why I’m spending so much time transcribing someone else’s journals, having forgotten they are mine.

I haven’t completely given up on the idea because what writer doesn’t want to pull out everything they’ve ever written, parse it to death, and write it all over again?

My daughter Annie offered to help with this monumental task, but I’m not sure I’m ready for her to read my unedited nonsense.

Someday, yes.

Today, maybe not.

Even though I only made it through four months, I found some wonderful bits of wisdom and learning tucked in my 1975 journal entries.

journal

I learned what a pivotal year that was for me; and I discovered some major life lessons that deserve to be remembered:

You never know who will inspire you and end up shaping your life in meaningful and profound ways

There was a friend, Rich, who suggested I start writing for the student newspaper, which led to my decision to major in journalism, and later to becoming the editor of that newspaper, and discovering my love of writing. There was the roommate, Connie, that told me I needed to “get off the fence” with my religion. She was right, and I needed to hear that. I followed her advice, committed more deeply to my religion, and began to discover my spiritual self.

Absence Really Does Make the Heart Grow Fonder

When I left for college, I gained a whole new appreciation for my family. I wanted to make them proud of me, and I wanted them to know how much they meant to me. I started to work at my relationships with them– writing letters, calling home, spending more time with them when I visited, and trying to show how much I loved them. I learned that all relationships take work.

Good friends make all the difference

I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as hard or as often as I did during that first year of college. I’m glad I hung on to many of those good friends, but I’m sorry about the ones I let slip away.

Values matter

I realized in college the importance of standing for something. I broke a lot of dorm rules that I thought were silly, and I’d probably break them all again if I had a do-over because they really were silly. But, when it came to the big and important stuff, I was determined to live a principled, value-driven life, which I’ve never regretted.

I might not make it through decades of journals, but I’m glad I made it through four months worth.

Who knew I learned so much in those four months?

Can you remember who inspired you, what you loved, believed and valued when you were 18?

Think back.

How did that year shape your life?

Please share.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. love your reflections… what a pleasure it is to hear your thoughts!

  2. Laurie I love your blog! Your question at the end made me think back when I was 18. Wow that was a crazy year for me. There were a lot of turning points. But I didn’t cling to them like I should have. I really wish I had a journal to read from then. I started one so many times. I never really got the writing bug. I am starting one this year again, I hope it sticks. I actually started by recording myself then went to typing again because I wanted it typed out. (still haven’t really decided) Would my anyone want listen to me or read my journals or maybe not a all? LOL I want to get the program that I can speak and it would type. Maybe an idea for you to get through your journals faster. Maybe that is cheating for a writer. Plus I am guessing you type as fast as you read, not my case. 😉 Thanks for your blog, I love reading it!

    • Melissa, Thanks for commenting and for actually thinking about the question I asked! Don’t worry about whether anybody will read what you write. Just write! It’s mostly for you, anyway. You have so many unique experiences and you should capture them in writing. You’ll enjoy reading them later. And, it’s amazing how much we forget. I tried recording some of my journals. That’s definitely quicker but it’s still quite a job! Ha. I’ll chip away it over time, I guess.

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