Digging into the Past

image courtesy of flickr.com

This morning, while searching through various notebooks in hopes of triggering some creativity for a writing prompt, I discovered an old journal of mine. The journal was kept primarily during my four years living in Los Angeles (book-ended by entries of late-college life in Boise and, years later, my return). I spent the next hour reading what filled these pages. There was angst. There was heartbreak. There were thoughts about writing, acting, and the pursuit of a career that lacks stability.

I learned that I have grown, but so much, ten plus years later, remains the same.

To be fair, what I was writing about plagues most of us, at some point. Lost loves and yearning are a major theme during those years. And when I say major theme, I mean it took up about 70% of the pages. Proving again that I was once a person that believed in fate, destiny and the like.

These past experiences with love have certainly shaped the person I am today. One that has not given up on the idea, but a person that does not rely on the comfort of another to gauge my happiness and success. I suppose in that way I have let go of the past. (Though a significant other by my side at this point in life would be an added bonus. Wait, does that mean I need to start a new journal? No.)

Lack of money and stability were other common themes present in the journal. This was present during the Los Angeles years mostly. A fight between doing what I wanted to do and working at a movie theater to pay the bills. (I suppose this hasn't changed much over the years. Repeating mistakes? Or just stuck in a vicious cycle? Probably a little of both.)

Rediscovering this journal, if I were an outsider looking in, would lead me to believe that all was depressing in those days. I was depressed when much of that writing took place. There are intervals, though, of when much wasn't written. Those were the happier times. I suppose I wrote in the journal to get my feelings of despair, loneliness, and frustration out of my system. And it helped, not only personally but in crafting the stories I tell to this day.

Letting go of the past. It is much easier said than done, as is repeating the mistakes of the past. I have learned from them, in most instances, but on days like this, when I re-read the journal, I am whisked away to that time period. I think of people I haven't thought of years. Women I liked but never had the courage to talk to. I think of people still in my life and how I have chosen to keep them in my life, despite the good and the bad. Most importantly, I think of how lucky I am to still be here; to be fighting the good fight and trying to make a career of what I love. 

Is there regret? Very little. Living with regret means living in the past. It's cliche to say, but we only get one chance at this life. There have been a few regrets, but only in situations, not decisions. Situations that might have been handled better in order to reach the same conclusion. I think a lot of those years chronicled in the journal I was living in regret. And insecurity. And a lack of courage. 

Do I still have those things present in my life? Yes, sans the regret. As for the other two: I have learned that they will always be present in my life, but I have learned not to dwell on them. I have the strength to acknowledge those feelings when they pop up and to use them as fuel. If anything, my past and present have taught to be one thing:


Stray Thoughts

-I wrote of how America was too paranoid. This was in 2003. I wrote of a kid being sent home from school because he wore an "Anti-Bush" t-shirt. People claimed this shirt was shown as "Pro-terrorism". Today, those same people that had this "pro-terrorist" sentiment about an "Anti-Bush" shirt probably own an "Anti-Obama" shirt and call it freedom of speech.

-I wrote about the Boston Red Sox losing in the ALCS in 2003 and winning the World Series in 2004. In 2003, I tied my supposed bad luck in life to the curse of the Red Sox. Boston and I were won in the same. That year, I wanted to change my allegiance, looking for a team with better luck. I'm glad I stuck with Boston.

-Many of the entries were written past 2 am, after a long drinking session. That maybe telling of the topics of the entries. Or it may not. I'll let others be the judge of that.

"Life is short, break the rules.
Forgive quickly, kiss slowly
Love truly, laugh uncontrollably
And never regret anything that makes you smile."- Mark Twain


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