“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.” Anais Nin
I hesitate to admit it, but I have kept a journal pretty consistently for over 30 years now. It’s quite fun to read my 20 year-old self’s perspective on life. About the shock to the system of being a parent to newborns through to teenagers. And, more recently, to having some space to myself again.
There are moments when I have written to be angry, to grieve, to shout out on the page that someone shouldn’t have done something. When I read back through those moments, I am instantly transported to that precise emotion and its context. I also notice that when I gain a little distance from whatever event sparked the outburst, that I begin to examine what was really going on. Was it really all someone else’s fault? Usually not. Usually, I’d played a significant part in the proceedings too.
“Regrets require behaviour change” wrote Professor Cary Cooper recently (on the subject of PM Gordon Brown’s microphone blunder). In other words, something about us needs to change. Writing a daily journal is a chance to write in the moment, and to re-examine events in a cooler, calmer frame of mind. Highly recommended as a great way to learn.