Finding the ways to fill the time
I have a lovely, new, pink journal sent by mum for Christmas.
Thinking about everything that’s happened to me over the last few years – big things like teaching in Japan, surviving the great earthquake, and small things like the funny things my students did, or the obnoxious (but still funny) things that various acquaintances have said/done (Her: “How are you living here?” Me: “I’m married to a Japanese guy. ” Her: “Oh. You’re one of those.”) – makes me wish I had started earlier.
Actually, I have started earlier. Over, and over again. With year long gaps in between entries. And do I ever reread those entries? Never.
So sitting down to start another tonight (actually, the second entry, the first was the day after Christmas), I had a think about what future me would actually want to read and recall.
I thought about the diaries of naturalists like Thoreau – who, by detailing the dates that wildflowers bloomed in spring, recently revealed how the warming planet has pushed their timing forward by 10 to 20 days. I dutifully entered the temperature for today – an unseasonable 8 to 3 degrees Celcius, partly cloudy. I’m sure I’ll want to remember that.
I also remembered from ancient history classes how knowledge gets lost through a failure to record it. I mean, everyone knows how to build a trireme! Should I write down how I combined onions and chickpeas with my dried ramen today making a surprisingly delicious lunch? How many recipes that once blew my mind have I lost already?
In the end, I wrote about walking the forested, but sown with spiritual artifacts, hill by my house. There are Buddhist graves, Shinto shrines and even a Christian cemetery on this hill, and I thought I knew it well by now. However, taking the wrong path, I entered a previously undiscovered grove, with short, concrete blocks in a circle, and a twiggy broom nearby. I got the strongest flashback to playing Quest For Glory as a kid, and stumbling into a new section of map.
I guess I’ve found my answer. Nostalgia. I bet that is something Future Me and I still share.