When I was little and there were only 4 kids in my family, my parents spent some time each Sunday afternoon writing in journals they were keeping for each of us 4 kids. Looking back at that old journal, I am reminded of lots of fun things I forgot. It was also funny to read again when my youngest was the same age that I was in those journals. I could see how similar we were at the same age, and what my parents did to try to work around my stubbornness and feistiness. For Example: When I was 5, I refused to wear pants, even when it was cold. I only liked skirts and dresses. We compromised by me wearing warm tights, and pants under my skirts while I walked to school. When I got to school, I could put the pants in my backpack, and I still had the warm tights on. Mom was happy I stayed warm, and I was happy to be in skirts. Today I own just a few knit pants that I only wear during heavy gardening or painting the house. I do light gardening in a denim skirt and an apron, because I still really do not like pants!
One day I complained to a friend that I was bummed I really stank at writing in journals. She said she'd call me back soon. When she did, she had copy and pasted parts of emails I had sent her into a word document, telling what I had been doing, about my kids, a few pictures I sent her etc. The emails had dates, so it looked like a typed journal. And it was multiple pages long for only 3 months of emails! Awhile back before I knew my health problem, I struggled to type with my right hand or see out of my left eye. I worked with my phone, and saw that I could speak into my Android phone, and it would type up what I was saying. I typed up email (Gmail) replies by speaking into my phone. I also started doing journal entries the same way.
|New roof after fire May 2008|
|crane, new roof after fire|
I have always tried to take a few pictures of what we were doing to help me remember, sort of as a picture journal. All my pictures are in date order and have the dates as the prefix for each title. When our house was being rebuilt after our fire, we took pictures showing the progress and cool things we don't see every day, like the rafters of the roof going up by crane.
Last week I was archiving some older pictures and saw one that surprised me. (above) I had been sewing costumes for a play my kids were in. I also worked backstage helping dress everyone in costumes, and I helped with quick costume changes. I remembered I was struggling with a herniated disk in my neck, and the problems it caused with my right hand. I couldn't feel if I was holding material or not, and I kept dropping things. But I forgot until I saw that picture that I also had a bad fall, the day before the play. I tore ligaments all through half my left hand and had bone bruising from the ring I was wearing bending and being smashed into one knuckle. I looked at that picture and thought, "yes, I do some pretty crazy things!" It also reminded me how determined I get to never quit, or back out of commitments.
It's easy for people to feel they are aren't doing enough, and feel discouraged. Especially in the middle of poor health. Or we forget we can't move as fast as we did when we were teenagers before health stuff started kicking in. Then there's all these "I should be able to do_____". I've been told with handicaps to just eliminate the word "should" from my vocabulary. I write in my journal about my struggles with these things and try to think of better words than "should". Seeing some type of a journal helps us see how far we've come, and that we really actually do stuff. It reminds us how we got through the tough times. It's hard to remember these things when we're in the middle of crazy stuff/life crises. When our kids become adults and start to go through the same things, it helps to show how you felt going through the same thing. Or when new challenges arise, you can read to remind yourself how you got through previous challenges. I can look back and see I've always been feisty and stubborn, which are good things to have when fighting crazy health stuff. I've found the best way for me to write by hand in an actual journal, is first thing in the morning, sitting out on my deck, listening to the birds. There will always be messes to clean up. But taking time to write, and letting the rest wait, seems to make the day go a little smoother for me.