Monday, May 17, 2010

Journaling and New Perspectives

A few days ago, I was sifting though a box in my office when I ran across one of my old journals. I've written journals off and on since my first diary didn't have enough room for me to put down everything I wanted in one day's slot. I was 13 or 14 when that happened.

I kept a journal through much of high school. Alas, those all got thrown out when I got married. I was far too busy working and studying when I was in college, but after I got my degree, I started up with a journal again. I kept one throughout my pregnancy, and have that one stored away in my cedar chest should my son ever want to read it. After he was born, I had no time to eat or sleep, much less write in a journal! I didn't start up again until he was three or so.

Anyway, back to the topic of the journal I found a few days ago... This one seemed particularly prophetic because the first entry was dated May 11, 2002.

Eight years ago seems like another lifetime to me now. I was the manager of a multi-million dollar state program that was suffering from some major service delivery crises, while I was going through some personal physical and emotional upheavals. Reading through those journal entries brought it all back to me...
  • My passive-aggressive boss who undermined me at every turn
  • The incompetent staff in our Personnel department who constantly refused to return my phone calls or if they did, refused to help me in any way
  • My primary care doctor who focused on minimal physical problems rather than address the big picture of my overall health
It was not a fun time for me! But it was also a time when I was on the brink of change. During this time, the idea of quitting my job first took shape. I did a lot of angsting about whether I could survive on the money I'd saved and the small amount of retirement benefit I'd receive if I did quit. I was also struggling to write and wondering if I could ever FINISH much less SELL a book.

But eventually, I did convince myself that I could do it. And I did!

Looking back with my current perspective, I still feel bad about the terrible time I had grappling with it all. But I'm happy to know I made THE RIGHT decision! I've never once regretted leaving that job. Plus, I've not only finished, but I've sold and will soon have published three books! One of my major dreams in life came true.

Journaling was a therapeutic activity for me back in those dark and depressing days. Matter of fact, it still is therapeutic for me to write out my frustrations and keep track of my writing progress. And since finding and reading this old journal and knowing that my story does have a happily-ever-after, I can see it's also a great reminder of how far I've traveled, and that things do have a way of working out for the best!


Helen said...

I used to keep diarys when I was a teenager but I only have one of them left and it is a long time since I have read that one LOL.

I really think they are a great idea but I never seem to have the time or to be honest the memory to sit down and write in one I often write out a shopping list and then forget to take it with me LOL.

I am so glad that you have gotten that wish to be a multi published author your books are fantastic reads and may there be many more to keep me and all the other readers happy

Have Fun

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

AWWW! Thanx Helen!
I hear ya on writing out the shopping list and then leaving it at home. :-) I've done that a time or twenty!

I think the main reason I have kept journals all these years is because those spiral bound notebooks are much cheaper than seeing a therapist! :-P


Jane said...

I'm so glad you can see how far you've traveled, Aunty Cindy. I haven't done any journal writing since I was a teenager and even then I wasn't much of a diary person. My cousin is big on writing in his journal. He went through a divorce and he says the journal lets him know if he's making any progress in terms of his mood and overall happiness.

flchen1 said...

AC, I kept journals pretty regularly starting from sometime in junior high until after I had my second child. Now I journal maybe once a year. I do have some pretty boring entries in there, but it's fascinating to me to be able to flip back and see what kinds of things were important and how things I stressed over turned out :) And yep, way cheaper than therapy :D

Congrats on living out some of your dreams, AC!