time travel writing

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:

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.