photoI write myself notes. I realize I’m following in the footsteps of my family members with this behavior, but so far I don’t write household repairs with workarounds and maps to where I put important papers the way my Grandma does. Not yet, anyway. (My Dad once casually remarked that the handwriting experts on the crime shows should take a look at these notes. His offhand humor kills me.)

My notes are time and place descriptions: walking through the Carnegie museum in Pittsburgh, the thoughts running through my head during a job interview in front of a panel of interviewers (that’s a good one—I’ll have to post it for you at some point), a New Year’s Eve party where I felt really out of place (though, when don’t I?), etc.

Many of these notes are reasons why I chose to do one thing over another, to take one path or direction instead of a different one.

I run across them from time to time stuffed in books I was reading, in drawers, and saved in strange places in my computer. This week, organizing some computer files, I found a particular description that I’d written about 13 years ago. In the note (by note, I mean 2-pages, really), I’d just returned from a trip, and I described all the traps I was glad I’d escaped: things like stagnancy of writing, getting caught up in what others think, the monotony of daily life, etc. Much as I enjoyed the trip, I needed to come home. End of note.

But as these things go, I had just been thinking about that place lately and wondering if I should make the journey again. I may still go—travel is good for the soul. But now I have a roadmap of what to avoid. As I read the note, I actually said out loud, “Oh, that’s great to know. Thanks!” And I realized I’d just thanked myself of 13 years ago.

Continuing my little Doctor Who moment, I wondered what I’d write today that would affect a future me. Not so much what, really, as when: I wonder when today’s written pages will re-emerge to help me. Because they will.


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