I have not published anything here in a long time, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about it frequently. I publish half-written blog posts in my head a lot, although no one else can access those. For those of you wanting to follow my life here in Nashville (hi, Mom!), I promise to write about that more. But for now, I’m going to include one of the half-baked, potential blog posts that I wrote a few weeks ago without publishing, which I am now resurrecting, dusting off and presenting here for your enjoyment.
There was once a time when my assignment notebook was a reflection of my life. I would spend hours doodling in it and noting every assignment and keeping track of after-school activities and writing my favorite lines from books and scribbling down drafts of notes that I would later anxiously give to boys I liked. This is a time that I am calling middle school but really lasted until about four years ago. Anyway, some time around the sixth grade, I realized I could use my assignment notebook not only as a creative outlet and organizer, but also as a method of time travel.
I know it sounds crazy, but hear me out: I’m not talking about physical time traveling but rather leaving traces of my current self for my future self to find. Like writing a letter to myself and putting it in a time capsule. What better time capsule was there than a calendar that I looked at every day?
So began this strange ritual: Every once in a while, I would write notes to myself months ahead of time. Like, in October, I’d write on the page for a week in March. Usually they were words of motivation — something like, “You are awesome!” I wanted to make future-me’s day better by saying nice things. And then, I would sign these words of encouragement in code: T.E.F.Y., which stood for “The Emily From Yesteryear.” (Someone once saw that in my assignment notebook once and asked me who had written me the nice note. I was relieved I hadn’t been caught talking to myself in assignment notebook form.)
I’m not sure if I ever really surprised myself with those notes, but I always got a kick out of seeing the “You are awesome!” note five months later. Eventually, I stopped doing this. But I still feel a little thrill when I find remnants of my past self — old letters that I saved, photographs, AOL instant message chats. It’s not just the memory of the event that tickles me but also the memory of who I was: someone who’s different from who I am now, but whose thought process I can still follow.
The whole point of this is to say: Unexpectedly, my blog feels a bit like T.E.F.Y. I didn’t write it with the intended audience of me, but I’ve recently found myself referencing my own blog posts for inspiration and comfort. Or I’ve come to realizations about life in Nashville and later realize I’ve already written about them in my blog. I’ve looked to an old post about starting at NPR for guidance on navigating my new job. I’ve actively used my own moving survival guide. I’ve rediscovered how to profiter from life and splurge on small, simple pleasures, like frequenting hipster coffee shops.
Is this what wisdom feels like? Excuse me while I go meet up with Confucius.