Today’s Assignment was to write about something we wish someone had told us that would have made a difference in our life.
My immediate response to this is about journaling. I still don’t have the habit. As I look back on my life, I wish I had journaled regularly. I do great when I am on vacation but day to day? Nope, nada, nothing.
I wish in our first days of learning to write, that my teachers had inflicted journaling upon us. I say that literally – inflicted. How many of you journal and how long have you done so? To what end?
Sidebar – When I started working at the YWCA of Westchester, New York, after we worked for 2000 hours, we were required to contribute 5% to a retirement plan. I was 25 years old. I earned $9,000 a year and had to spend more than $100 a month between gas and bridge tolls in just getting to work . No way did I want to lose 5% of my pay for retirement. I was 25 years old and needed every penny I could get.
Now the association did kick in 5% plus the admin fees of another percent. Roll ahead to 19 years in the YWCA and I have a happy investment fund just waiting for me to retire. But this, at that young age in a stage of a very poor life, had been inflicted upon me.
If I had been forced to write a journal entry every day throughout my schooling, it now would be a habit. Even if I stopped for periods of time, perhaps out of defiance, I have to believe that it would be something I would come back to at some point. Can you imagine reading a journal of your youth? Of those troubling teenage years? Of struggling through the changes we go through in college, in young adulthood? For me, of coming out?
What a rich history we would create. As I am now in my early 60’s, I KNOW it is never too late to start. And because I have decided in my movement towards retirement that I am going to be a writer (my mentor’s would correct me here and say that I am to say, “I AM a writer.”), I am following two online writing ‘experts’ and have committed to two writing tasks:
1. Daily 15 minutes of writing – no rules, no subjects to follow, just writing.
2. 31 Days of 500 words a day – Thus this entry. What I wish someone had told me in my past. A rant he says.
So here I am. This is my rant – what I wish had happened as soon as we learned how to put a sentence together. When is that? First or second grade? I just googled it – (isn’t that a marvelous way to find something out immediately? Talk about the generation of immediate gratification! Thats’ me!). Experts on WebMD state that children start writing sentences in first to second grade.
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If we had started writing 500 words a day in second grade, we would have over 10,000,000 words! Now I realize thatin second grade 500 words would have been a stretch, but I think I make my point. An average mystery or thriller might have 250,000 – 300,000 words. War and Peace has 560,000 words. With those 10 million words, we would easily have written 33 books. Outrageous.
Even without thinking about publishing, consider the rich sense of history and self we would have if we had journaled throughout our life. I have started – how about you?
Let me know – I am curious. Who knows – maybe our stories will intertwine some day.