On breaking my best habit


I logged into WordPress today to create this blog. I was all jazzed up, telling myself today was the day, only to find out I had in fact already created it nearly two years ago. My 2013 self gets an “A” for effort I guess, but really this is a reminder that blogging is always the first priority I push off ’til tomorrow.

Kind of like how I’ll get back into my nightly journaling ritual… tomorrow.

For basically all of my 27 years on this earth, I’ve kept a journal. My entries – though occasionally sporadic – were usually habitual. One one hand, writing helped me keep at least one foot firmly planted in reality. On the other, it let me play out my anxieties, turning situations over and over in my head (notebook) until I made them even more dramatic than they were to begin with (or had finally sorted them out). And so, from second grade all the way through college, I journaled nearly every day.

Enter adulthood. Writing quickly became not only something I was passionate about and actually good at – it also became the best and surest way for me to pay my bills. (This is basically a nice way of saying that writing was no longer something I did for myself). At the same time, I realized that – after spending my day staring at a computer screen, writing endless pages of text, scrutinizing every word choice and sentence structure – pretty much the last thing I wanted to do when I came home was plunk down at the kitchen table and write some more. Not because I don’t love my work. And not because I don’t love writing for myself. I love both but – come on – sometimes all a girl wants at the end of a long day is to cuddle up on the couch with a glass of wine and her Instagram feed. (How very millennial of me. I know.)

Suddenly, five years have passed and I’m not even half-way through my first Moleskin notebook, with it’s inaugural entries detailing the difficulties I had finding a job immediately following my graduation into 2010’s recession.

Instead of a daily habit, journaling’s come a semi-quarterly to-do at best.

Pathetic, I know.

Except, maybe it’s not so pathetic. Sometimes I take my complete lack of journaling over the past five years as a good sign. When journaling was my therapy, life was pretty temperamental in a way that wasn’t just your typical teenage melodrama. My parents had a messy divorce and I took it pretty hard. I didn’t see my dad for a good decade or so. My mom and I had our fair share of problems. Finances were tight, we moved at least once a year, and – all in all – things felt far from stable. I was a sensitive kid (still am, what can I say), meaning I had a whole host of issues and concerns taking up headspace. But despite how uncertain and inconsistent those years felt, I could always count on writing to ground me. And looking back, I’m damn glad I used it as my escape rather than something else, because things could have certainly turned out worse.

Fast forward to today. Instability is no longer a constant in my life. I’ve made peace with my parents and the past. I’m happily in love with and married to an amazing man and, along with our dog, we’re building our life together. I’ve got a job I’m not only good at but I enjoy doing. And – perhaps most importantly – I have the confidence and wisdom today to know that a few bumps in the road don’t have to unbind me.

So maybe my poor journaling habit isn’t pathetic. It’s progress.

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