I used to be a dedicated journal writer – I penned my thoughts almost every day, starting during my freshman year of college. I’m not entirely sure why I stopped that ritual – it seemed that when my life was quiet (the times when I was settled), that I didn’t have much to write about. My thoughts quieted, and I didn’t feel the need to write to sort them out or clear my mind.
Looking back on these journals, I sometimes smile at what tragedy was rocking my world at seventeen, or what guy was breaking my heart at nineteen. While I can see countless ways in which I have grown, there are still a great many entries that could be written today and read the same.
In addition to what I wrote, I always pasted my concert ticket stubs in my journals, and I often clipped articles or other things that I read. If something impacted me enough to read it more than once, it had a place in my journal.
I woke up this morning and realized again, that I need to look at each day as one day, each hour as one hour. Life becomes overwhelming when you look at the big picture all the time. While it is necessary to have goals and far-reaching dreams, the individual steps that you take to get there are just as important, if not more important.
Thinking of this reminded me of something I clipped long ago. Ironically, it is from one of the advice columns (which I never read), and I think it is based on 12 step programs (like AA).
Here it is:
JUST FOR TODAY: I will live through this day only. I will not brood about yesterday or obsess about tomorrow. I will not set far-reaching goals or try to overcome all of my problems at once.
I know that I can do something for 24 hours that would overwhelm me if I had to keep it up for a lifetime.
JUST FOR TODAY: I will be happy. I will not dwell on thoughts that depress me. If my mind fills with clouds, I will chase them away and fill it with sunshine.
JUST FOR TODAY: I will accept what is. I will face reality. I will correct those things I can correct, and accept those I cannot.
JUST FOR TODAY: I will improve my mind. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration. I will not be a mental loafer.
JUST FOR TODAY: I will make a conscious effort to be agreeable. I will be kind and courteous to those who cross my path, and I’ll not speak ill of others. I will improve my appearance, speak softly, and not interrupt when someone else is talking. Just for today: I will refrain from improving anybody but myself.
JUST FOR TODAY: I will do something positive to improve my health. If I’m a smoker, I’ll quit. If I am overweight, I will eat healthfully — if only just for today. And not only that, I will get off the couch and take a brisk walk, even if it’s only around the block.
JUST FOR TODAY: I will gather the courage to do what is right and take responsibility for my own actions.
Today I will focus on what is happening at this moment in time, and not worry about tomorrow or the next day. I won’t dwell on the future that scares me, or the things that bring me down. I will focus only on what is present, important, and makes me happy. I will deal with things as they come, rather than anticipating what’s next.
It’s a beautiful sunny day here in New York. I walked down the stairs of the subway this morning and got the B train within minutes (a true rarity). I’ve got my Starbucks and a muffin (since I ate four french fries for dinner last night). I’m going to see the Jesus and Mary Chain tonight at Webster Hall. Aside from the minor hangover I am sporting right now, I feel confident that it can be a good day.
Just for today – I will live through this day only.