On Keeping a Journal

One thing most people don’t know about me: In 2008, fed up with the daily grind of a 9 to 5 and being unsatisfied with life, I decided that I wanted to chase after my childhood dream of becoming a cop. I took the test for the New York State Police and did very well.

During the application process, I had a 1-on-1 with a 20 year NYSP veteran and we had a great conversation- “Do you have any regrets?”, I asked. “Are you glad that you chose to spend your life this way?”.

Steve, my only regret after being on the job for 20 years is that I didn’t keep a journal or dairy about everything I’ve seen and done. I’ve met the president, was sent to New Orleans during Katrina and NYC after 9/11. The whole Bucky situation. These were incredible, defining moments in my life and I wish that I could remember them forever, read through day-by-day and relive exactly how I felt in the moment.

The next day, I started keeping my own journal.

And for the past 1091 days, I’ve been journaling every single day- that’s about 3 years or 12% of my entire life. My only regret? I wish I started sooner. Every morning, I sit down for 10 minutes and write a paragraph about whatever, totally stream of conscious. Usually I write about nothing, but once in awhile, something really incredible and raw flows out. Most of the time, it’s in between. But it always helps me to figure out life.

Do you have one? No? Start now. It’s powerful to go back a week, a month, a year and see exactly what you were thinking, what was important to you, and realize how it did (or didn’t) impact your life. A year ago today, I drove to a wedding in Vermont, lost my wallet, and upgraded my internet. This summer’s blockbuster? Maybe not, but who knows how those events could have had a ripple effect on my life.

Looking back, it’s mesmerizing to realize the amount of data contained in 1091 days.

  • A Serious relationship, serious breakup, and too many 4th grade crushes
  • About 40lbs of weight loss, with pictures!
  • 3 Jobs, one layoff, and how I blew a massive severance package with Amazon Prime during one week of unemployment (that’s responsible, right?)
  • Thousands of miles run, 17 half marathons, and a full 26.2
  • 3 moves, 1 of them across the country. One with a sleezy landlord (Hey Patty Weaver, you still owe me my security deposit!)
  • Two weeks in Italy, 3 cruises, a flight to San Francisco, 8 trips to Connecticut, 4 to South Carolina, 2 to New Hampshire
  • 2 cars, 5 extensive & expensive visits to the dealer (don’t buy an Audi)