I’ve gotten into the habit of writing a journal, which I began when travelling and after some encouragement from my Dad (who is always right about such things).
Often, what I write is basically a stream of consciousness. Sometimes the words veer abruptly from wittering about pancakes into blasts of worried sentences that seem to come out of nowhere, stuff I’m clearly anxious about, but didn’t know I was until it poured out. I also often write down quotes from books or people that strike me as interesting, or inspirational.
I find I usually have no recollection of the words when I go back and read them again- it’s like it pours out of the brain and onto the page. This is probably why I find writing a journal helpful; it’s like the mental equivalent of unclogging a blocked sink.
However, it also means that revisiting the journal becomes strangely enjoyable. I rediscover whole parts of my life I literally forgot I lived through, and it feels like my life as a whole gets bigger and fuller as a result of refreshing those memories. I can’t believe how many trips I’ve been on when I wasn’t journaling that have almost totally disappeared from my mind. I spent an entire year living in Thailand once, and my recollections are pretty limited to vague impressions of yellow t-shirts, shopping malls, children with identical haircuts, brightly lit beach parties, and myself wandering around some empty streets drinking iced coffee out of a plastic bag. It makes me sad to think about what I’ve lost.