My Journal Entries from A Year Ago

What was I feeling?

I did something rare today: I reread some of my past journal entries. Since I started journaling several years back, I’ve always been surprised by how little I look back on things I’ve written to myself. I remember being in college and having an unexpected deep conversation with a professor (always a nice surprise when things like this happen). He asked me what use I found in journalling and specifically if I ever read back things I had written. I was surprised he accepted my answer of no; I thought that since he was a design professor he would expect human practices to have value and function.

Today, I looked back on entries from last November. On some level, I was surprised by some of the trivial things that made the written cut in my journals last year. It made me realize how life a year ago was completely different. Was I also a completely different person? But on the other hand, things felt remarkably similar, as if I hadn’t changed at all.

Here are some (paraphrased) things I wrote about a year ago during November:

  • 11/2/20 I saw my friends on the roof today and enjoyed some of the fall weather. I also watched the Mandolorian with my sister at home. I was annoyed by daylight savings again, but I found it easier to get up in the morning evidently. Routine was a big part of my life during this time. On another note, I worrying about the upcoming election. I was thinking back to the previous 2016 election and recalling the exact room where I was watching those result unfold. I’m hopeful but also anxious. I hope that I calmly make it through the next few days.

  • 11/8/20 I learned about the election results on Saturday biking through Brooklyn. People were honking and cheering from their balconies. We stumbled upon a block party at Fort Greene. With Covid still raging on, the public elation was an energy I hadn’t felt in nearly a year of staying indoors. People were dancing in the street, blasting music on loudspeakers, popping bottles in the intersection, all under a midday 70 degree sun. I later learned that the party went all night long. On a separate note, I am horrible at the game Among Us; I kept dying or never knowing how to lie. Sometimes I hate games like these.

  • 11/16/20 I had ‘a good work Monday!’ -whatever that means. I worrying about surging cases and hope that I’d still be able to make it home for Thanksgiving. I’m oscillating between feeling apprehensive about inviting more risk traveling home, but also feeling confident that I’d be able to handle risk appropriately. Today I also found a lot of cockroaches in the apartment; an infestation in a box.

  • 11/18/20 I tried morning journals to switch up my routines. I had been struggling with my night time journaling as of late. But this made me realize how I measured everything in my life at this point to routines. Given the pandemic and repetitiveness of the days; these moments of consistency were how I measured the success of the day. From Korean practice, to reading everyday, getting a workout int, and doing something creative. A large goal of mine during this time was to build a routine and have productive days.

  • 11/23/20 I called friends and learned about their families, their Covid plans, and our speculations on what the future could look and when we would see each other again. I also noted something as simple as going to the local coffee spot to get a chai.

I can certainly spot some obvious differences between myself now and myself a year ago. I lucky to say I’m less anxious now and my days are far less repetitive. While I don’t think I’ve unlocked any epiphanies from looking back, I quite like the idea of seeing what’s made the cut; the little details like getting a chai was worth me writing it down for the day.

I find that I rarely am retrospective when I journal. Every now and then, I’ll feel the philosophical urge to spill onto the page, but most of the time, I write about what is right in front of me: what happened today. Is the purpose of journaling to reflect? To simply document? To pose question to revisit in the future? To form some sort of comprehensive autobiography? Or just to get the words and feeling out? I can’t pin it down to a single purpose. I find myself remarkably calm with the idea of unrealized purpose and value. I feel a safety in recording things.