Isn’t it intriguing how we only realize how much we’ve grown after the fact. Growth is one of those funny little things that takes time to notice. Like when you haven’t seen your grandma in months and she swears you’ve grown a whole 6 inches? (okay okay.. bad analogy for me.. I’m still only 5 feet tall grandma. And will probably never grow another six inches, let alone one). A blessing and a curse maybe. It’s hard to recognize growth in the middle of a trial, but when we have something to compare, where we are to where we were, I promise, it becomes rewarding.
For years, I’ve kept a journal. Recording thoughts and memories is both an emotional release for me, and an opportunity to witness growth. I’ve completed 17 so far and I’m still counting. Sometimes the thought does occur, “who would want to read this,” or “boy it will be so embarrassing if this ever gets out!” But when it boils down to it, journaling is not only therapeutic for me but it’s necessary for change.
Much like taking your measurements before a weight loss journey, journaling helps to give a starting point. Rock bottom. Nowhere to go but up. And sometimes being at the bottom isn’t all that bad. Sometimes our “rock bottom” is filled with happy days and we don’t realize until we’ve reached that goal.
In my nightstand, there sits both a journal from the current year, and a journal from the previous one. And periodically when there’s extra time or I’m feeling down, I’ll re-read entries from the previous year and reflect on the how much I’ve changed. Sometimes that change is rewarding, and sometimes it’s eye opening to see what improvements need to be made. The point is, there is always a direction to go and a guideline to get there, whether it’s ‘continue doing what you’re doing,’ or ‘what not to do.’
I don’t think I’d even be close to where I am now as a photographer, a mother, a wife, or a friend, without the thoughts and feelings of the past that have propelled me to try a bit harder, do a little more, and be a little better than the day before. I feel gratitude for the blessing it is to go back and read where I was and how far I’ve come.