Saturday, June 2, 2012

My Own Personal Time Machine

My family is on a bit of a quest to try to get our house in order.  Will we ever succeed?  Hard to tell.  Am I one of the biggest culprits in terms of non-neatness of the house?  You bet.  Why?  I love to hang on to things.  One thing that had been buried deep in a closet that is now being cleaned out--my high school and college journals.

What I'm finding now is that I am finally ready to part with them.  But not before one final read.  One final read that will give me an opportunity to look back more than 2 decades (in some cases almost 2 1/2 decades) to see what I was thinking and to think aout how it led me to where I am today.  Just in skimming a bit I have reached a few conclusions.

(1) My search for meaning in life is nothing new.  I over-analyzed everything even when I was not yet 20.  Different sets of questions. Different sets of concerns.  But a lot about how people around me related to me, related to each other, and viewed the world.  And how I viewed he world.  And, at the end of the day, I'm still writing about such things.

(2) My fascination with numbers is nothing new.  I picked up a journal that spanned much but not all of my sophomore year at Penn State.  I was counting how many days in a row I'd written.  I recorded the ages of many friends.  I noted my parents 20th anniversary.  I didn't try to find meanings in those numbers as I do with bib numbers and race times now, but the numbers were a critical part of what I wrote.

(3) An entry from January 3, 1989 is quite telling.  That was between semesters and I was home with my sister who apparently had been running a fever the night before.  With both parents working and with the convenience of having me around, I could take care of her.  In the entry, I noted that a close friend at Penn State had characterized my journal as "containing my world". I had talked quite a bit about it.  I wrote that my world was "extended" by "telling people aout it and not trying to hide things."  My personal blogs allow me to do just that in so many ways. It is essentially my journal of things that I am willing to share and of things that I hope others might ponder and comment on.

(4) Even back then, I was thinking about family, friends, religion, music, and running.  Do themes in life ever change?

I don't know if I am the only one who finds it fascinating to think about and ask, "Have I really changed that much or is it just a change in scenery with all the same questions and issues when all is said and done?"  If nothing else, I hope that while my life may be centered around similar issues I have at least learned enough not to repeat similar mistakes.

After taking a trip in "my own personal time machine" by reviewing my journals before I chuck stuff, I will be better able to answer the question of whether I have learned any life lessons or just a lot of facts in the past two decades and some.

I won't bore you with entries of "who liked who and what were they thinking?" but if I come across any particularly insightful entries as I review before chucking, I may comment on the theme I see from my old work.  


  1. You may want to compare "this date in time." In other words, today is June 3; so you may want to compare the June 3, 1989 entry to today's ponderings.

    I don't envy you trying to reduce "things" that you've been holding on to and de-cluttering your space! In recent years, I began acquiring less in an effort to reduce the clutter in my life. This way, I avoid the difficult decision to part with certain items (and avoid a lot of debt, too)!

  2. I like the idea of looking at "what was I doing X years ago?" I will have to try that. We are accumulating less these days, but undoing what took years to accumulate is going to be a long process.