“Take care of all your memories, for you cannot relive them.”

I had a look through some of my old journals today. It’s not something I do very often. I’ve been keeping them, on and off, since I was very young and it always feels oddly intrusive when I look back at the old ones, almost as though the older me is peering over the shoulder of the younger me. I can still remember the younger me and I think that he thinks the older me can be rather judgmental when he reads what he has written.

The worst thing is when I look back at my very first notebook which I kept when I was a teenager. A small black leatherette thing with an elastic strap that has long since perished to a sagged and oversized ribbon (that’s why we never use elastic as a closure on an Earthworks Journal).This is it:

1st notebook

As you might expect from a first journal, angst drips from every word; from the first embryonic dabblings at poetry to the awful self-pitying rants which span several pages. There are also mementos slipped inside the cover; a handful of old cinema and gig tickets, a couple of group photos of friends who seemed so important at the time but who I haven’t seen in the last quarter of a century and a page full of Woody Allen one-liners torn from a magazine.

When looking through this notebook part of me wants to pat that young lad on the shoulder and say, “Listen, I know it doesn’t seem like it at the moment but everything turns out alright. Believe it or not you’ll fall in love soon and, with that woman, you’ll actually start your own business making leather journals for other people to write stuff in. Those people will fill those books with all of the wonderful and terrible things that happen to them, just like you have.”

But, knowing that young lad like I do, I probably wouldn’t do that because I know he’d just turn round and shout “Get off me you old weirdo, you don’t understand! No one understands!!”.

And he’d be right. I’m 46 years old now, a long time since I had a teenager’s frame of mind. I would find it difficult to understand him.

BUT, and here’s the thing, I can remember him. I have his thoughts right there in front of me now in his old journal because, and I’m really thankful to him for this, he chose to write them down for me. Not for anyone else. He wrote them down for me!

And, of course, if you haven’t started keeping a journal yet it’s never too late. I’m still writing away in them now for the seventy year old me to read. He’ll have quite a collection to get through, here are some of my more recent ones. Of course, I only ever use our own Earthworks Journals to write in now. Why would I use anything less!! They’re all a little battered from our travels and adventures together but, unlike that little black leatherette one I started with all those years ago, they age a little more gracefully.

own journals

I wonder if the seventy year old me will be just as judgmental when he reads them. I can imagine him now, shaking his head at the things this middle-aged whippersnapper gets up to.

P.S. ~ The title of this post is courtesy of Bob Dylan. 

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2 thoughts on ““Take care of all your memories, for you cannot relive them.”

  1. I’ve always kept ‘notebooks’, thoughts and accounts from work, travels and encounters. We bought a small RV in 1999, went to AAA and got a handful of maps and took off every weekend or break that we could. Plenty of times just parked on the beach a few miles away. We sold that RV after 16 years and bought a new travel trailer and we came across our ‘travel journal’ of notes and little things that were jotted down.

    I’ve done charity work for many years from baking bread in shelters (especially for holidays), carpenter and welding skills for housing projects, and beginning this year working with B.A.C.A (www.bacaworld.com) that works with abused children. My ‘notebooks’ from the work I’ve done contains details and tiny things that I might not have remembered and mostly didn’t tell anyone when or if we talked about it. The notebooks contained all the odds & ends of my life . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thankyou for your comment, Rooster. That’s exactly why I love making journals for people to write in. It sounds as though you’re leading a fascinating life and it’d be a shame not to keep a record of it.

      I often wonder whether this period of time will become like a new ‘dark age’ as everything is recorded online and doesn’t have the permanence of a hard copy. Glad to see you’re doing your bit!

      All the very best to you,
      Jason.

      Liked by 1 person

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