I look up at the clock to find it’s much later than I expected. “Just one more page,” I think to myself, and continue scribbling away. Photographs, old theatre tickets, maps – all manner of memorabilia – are scattered across the dining table. It’s the confetti of my life.
I’ve always loved to write. I’d spend hours preparing speeches in high school. At college I dipped my toe into poetry and of course there were endless essays. Eventually I went on to build a career in communications; I wrote for a living.
A journal was my constant companion throughout a particularly challenging time, and eventually I started a blog. But it was only this past summer that I began to journal all the different chapters of my life – specifically the highlights – not just in words, but in pictures too. Sometimes I feel as if I’m piecing together a jigsaw puzzle.
What I’ve found is the more I write, the more I recall. I’m quite surprised by how many small, but important moments were tucked away in the dark corners of my mind. And as I pull the pieces together, they begin to form a bigger picture that I wasn’t aware of before. Life has taken on another layer of meaning, and I feel a deep sense of joy capturing memories and stories on a once-blank page.
“You’re wasting your time,” said a close friend. “Without children of your own, it’s just going to end up the bin once you’re gone.” Charming. I make a mental note not to leave it to her in my Will. I think back to a trip to Paris, a glorious winter’s day spent searching for treasures at antique markets. I found a journal, in French – of course – accompanied by black and white photographs. A stranger’s glamorous life spilled out onto the pages. In one photograph she was standing on a balcony, smoking. In another, she was sipping champagne at a party. I flipped the page and there were several photos of her dancing, laughing. I felt her lust for life like a tremor in my fingers. I doubt when she recorded those moments, she was worrying where they would end up.
And it doesn’t matter where this record of mine goes in the end. It won’t make my life any less lived. What matters is that as I record my memories, I’m reminded that I’m living right now. My own lust for life has been reignited. Remembering all the things I’ve done has given me a new sense of confidence to go out and do so much more. I’m meeting new people and doing new things. Life feels richer lately, more colorful and vibrant. And strangely I feel more present, even though I’ve been capturing the past.
And whilst none of my activities will make juicy material for a number one best seller, or a blockbuster movie, that’s not the point. I’m still creating a life worth writing about, even if it’s just in my little book and unread by anyone but me. I get so much pleasure flicking back through the pages. Maybe my journal will end up in the bin – but I’m hoping it gets lucky – and ends its own days in a dusty flea market in Paris. It’s time I learnt French.