Lately, I don’t feel like I’ve been super inspired to keep up with the blog. It isn’t that I don’t have anything to say as much as I haven’t necessarily had the time or energy into funneling my thoughts to the page.
Writing initially was an educational necessity. It took on the form of homework assignments and critical papers and had little to do with the inner workings of my thoughts or expressing myself. While I typically did well in English classes, I relied more on critical thinking skills than a well formed command of grammar and interest in creating a personal voice. In the latter years of high school I began experimenting more with poetry. It began as feeble attempts at Iron Maiden and Rush inspired song lyrics and eventually cycled into more thoughtful and personal attempts at expression. The stuff was cheesy and some might say contrived but I lacked both the experience and self-esteme to really be anything other than that as a writer.
College provided me with an opportunity to really craft words as a form of self-expression. It began on the college radio station. I had no real background in broadcasting and wanted to be sure I came across on the air as something other than a bumbling idiot I applied the note making regiment I used for public speaking to being on the air. It worked for the most part, the breaks were mostly tight and thoughtful. It was also at the station I was introduced to journalism by our Program Director who also happened to be the Features Editor at the school paper and in the same music business major I was working toward. Under his tutelage I learned about different styles of editing, layout and page design, staff management, as well as how to write basic hard news story techniques and most importantly long form features writing. It was a skill I feel like I grasped almost immediately since it it played up my quirks. Finally being detail oriented and long winded paid off!
Around the time I was transitioning from being writer to editor at the paper I began keeping a hand written journal. I found solace in putting my thoughts down pen to paper for a number of reasons.
First, the process of writing things down forced me to dwell for a much longer time on subjects that might normally have just glossed over in transient thought. I was able to step outside of just the thought itself and critique it objectively and subjectively through the process of deciding what to include on the page and how to present it in a way that captured the essence of what the thought meant to me. I intellectually and emotionally interacted with and evaluated a lot of feelings and ideas I otherwise might not have taken the time to even consider, expanding the process of analysis in ways just thinking about things in my head never could. On the page itself, a thought took on a different level of validation.
Second, the emotion or the idea now existed in a foundation of reality as it became affixed to the page, no longer allowing it to be fleeting or transient. There is plenty of research that supports the notion of internalization that occurs when one physically writes something out. The process of writing itself then reinforced the conclusions I came to as much as it helped the process of analysis.
Third, over time the documentation became a foundation for greater self-analysis. I could see trends in how I was thinking or feeling over time. I could re-read what I was considering in any given moment and then be critical of the process and outcome later proving an even great depth of understanding.
Not all the writing always was personal in nature. Sometimes it was critiques of stuff I saw on the news or interactions I witnesses between others in my life. In that, I began to view the world through the ink spilled documenting afterwords as much as I was experiencing and reacting to it first hand. The post-script look was sometimes more visceral than the initial experience.
Over time my journal became more public eventually leading to this blog which previous to WordPress existed in a multitude of other forms online.
As I look back at the posts some of which date to the early 2000s here I am reminded of how far I’ve come. I think back over the nearly four decades of time passed and it’s even more amazing. My five year old self would never believe the stories I can tell him today. Sometimes my thirty something self doesn’t even believe those stories.
Writing has been a gift for me, moreso than perhaps it’s been a gift to my readers. Even if no one were to ever enjoy these words they would still have deep and profound meaning to me.
Each year on my birthday, I look back on the stuff I’ve penned over the previous year (and click through the links to years passed those) and am reminded of what I’ve accomplished and the path I’ve taken to who I’ve become. The recollection of that journey then becomes the natural transitional point to the next part of the journey and the learnings from it the guidance for where to go next.
A year ago I noted what was important for me to remember to live by and this year I look back at those rules and contemplate to myself, “have I actually done as I thought I should?”
In some ways I believe I have been successful. I continue to transition career paths into more product driven activities and as the company I’m with pivots again I am making the effort to improve my knowledge base in order to achieve at even higher levels. Home ownership has provided me with the opportunities to learn more about the different systems that make up a functioning house and although I’m by no means a plumber or a landscaper or even a basic handyman I’ve come a long way from being an apartment dweller. In other ways I probably haven’t done enough comparatively to past years when it comes to the type of growth I expect when I narriate the theme A Placid Brain is a Flaccid Brain.
Typically, I look at the achievement of goals and the passing of affixed milestones to mean more than any given birthday, but in lue of having some aforementioned point to strive toward taking stock at an arbitrary point like a thrity-something birthday is as good a time as any to do so.
So, where would I like to be next? Many of the challenges ahead I have little control over, and the parts I do actually believe I have the reality is there’s many other forces at work too with much more influence. Perhaps it’s a new career challenge that takes me out of my comfort zone and provides me with a new way to grow. Perhaps it is procreation and the challenge of childrearing. Perhaps it is something new with the house, finding ways to make it more a home. Perhaps it is having a more vital social life and cultivating more meaningful and predictable relationships. Perhaps it is growing further as a husband and providing even more extraordinary between my spouse and I. Over the next 365 days I think we’ll find out for sure.