One of the things that you can – quite selfishly – enjoy about writing a blog is that it serves as an online diary for your own thoughts, hopes, opinions and ideas over time. When I started writing this blog two years ago (June 29, 2007, to be exact) I had no idea that the market was going to go belly-up for a while, that we would manage to sell our house for a (small) profit in the worst real estate environment in decades, and that I was going to be living in Florida with not one but two children.
Some of my articles about life in Jersey are strange to go back and look at:
- why I will not live in the northeast forever
- why is it called the Garden State?
- why my public library is not much of a money-saver
I have kept a journal, on and off, for about 13 years now. I can learn a lot about myself today by going back and looking at what was important to me years ago. The blog serves the same purpose. Emails do, too. Writing freezes a minute in time, and by helping us understand where we came from it can often tell us where we are going. Even pictures and videos capture your thoughts – what you took pictures of can tell a lot about what you were thinking.
I find one aspect of writing reassuring above all else. If I look back on my writing and journals and all of these records, several themes emerged (and again, I’m going back maybe 13 years in total). A few of them were:
- I didn’t like – and don’t – working the 9 to 5 corporate employee lifestyle.
- I used to love, but grew sick of, business travel and travel in general. Some joy disappeared after September 11th.
- I was tired of cold weather, long commutes and high costs of living – life in the Northeast. I dreamed almost constantly of warmer weather – for health, for the sun, for the lifestyle.
- Success and increasing salary (in my corporate life) and rising consulting fees (in my contracting life) didn’t make me feel happier or that life was getting easier.
- I like reading, a lot, and have not done enough of it. As the internet grew, my real reading dropped off.
- Getting married was a big change for someone like me who had clung to bachelorhood, but it was a minor change compared to having children. People without children get sick of hearing this – I know I did – but everything about how I perceived the world changed when I had kids. Not always positively, either – dangers that you hadn’t considered before you had children creep into your thoughts.
I made changes in all of these areas. I can see how I led myself there. That’s a neat thing to see. If you don’t write, get started. Even if you just keep a day planner, try to put some thoughts down every day (or three). Nobody will ever understand you as well as you understand yourself, and keeping a record of how your thoughts evolve over time will become more and more fascinating the longer you write them down.