I was driving last night with my windows down and the music up, a little wind in my hair and I had the most vivid flashback.
It was my senior year of high school. I was driving down Lincoln Highway in my mom’s Subaru that somehow became mine, caramel frappucino in hand. The windows were down and I was blasting some Jack Johnson and singing along, probably off-key.
The world felt so full of possibility, like nothing could go wrong and my life would always be perfect. And it was. Until something extremely dramatic happened, like a boy broke up with me or I lost a soccer game.
I was remembering that feeling last night. I was so young and so focused on the present. 17-year-old me did not think about 29-year-old me. She thought about her clothes and about her boyfriend and maybe thought a little bit about college. But I know she dreamt—where would she travel? Who would she marry? Would she have kids? What did she want? She didn’t write these things down or spend a lot of time contemplating. She was waiting for her life to be important. She didn’t want to write anything until it mattered.
And I’m sad that I used to think that. I wish I had deemed my thoughts, my dreams, my goals important enough to document. I wish I knew exactly what I hoped for when I was 17. Even though journals are horrifying to read, I wish I had kept better ones. What a gift it would be to know exactly how I came to certain decisions.
The seemingly trivial, everyday happenings inform our future. We are the sum of our experiences. And if we can’t remember how we felt or what happened, we may misunderstand who we are in the present.
I say all this because 29-year-old me still doesn’t write outside of this little blog. I don’t put pen to paper and examine my emotions. I don’t even write down the dates of important life events: when I left jobs or started a company. My memory can only hold so much and I want to do 40-year-old me a favor by documenting my days so she doesn’t have to remember everything.
I want to encourage you to do the same. Write. You might be terrible. That’s OK. I am too sometimes. We are the witness to our lives. The daily stuff matters—from how you felt the day after your wedding to how you feel waking up on a very normal Tuesday morning. Love yourself and your life enough to give yourself the gift of your history. You won’t regret it.