How Did I Ever – II

A month and a half ago, I wrote a post “How Did I Ever,” and reflected on how I managed to live in the small confines of Engelhart during my time at Northwestern.

Today, I’d like to consider the following question:

How did I ever manage to journal in almost-real-time?

In one of my earliest blog posts, I had given a chronicle of my chronicling. In it, I had given a reflection on where my journaling has gone and come from.

Since that 2012 post, I have continued journaling on each day. However, I am finding that, recently, and even since then, I am not as efficient with journaling as I used to be.

I posit a few reasons why this might be the case:

  • I am attempting to recall more details than what I used to write about
  • I fall behind in journaling because I get busy
  • I have a lot of other distractions around

The last one is probably the biggest reason. The allure of using my cell phone or the computer to quickly check social media or get caught up in a spiral of unproductivity takes away from my journaling, no matter where I am.

I have also realized that the details that I want to include make it hard for me to really be as “up to the minute” when I do full journaling. I first realized this on my Birthright trip, and ironically, it may have been the peak of my non-distraction with respect to technology. But there was plenty of social opportunity that made it hard to stay up to date.

My full journals sometimes took days afterward to be fully written, which of course meant that some of the details fled while the time slipped away.

In fact, since I have started writing my journals in cursive, I have not written a full-paragraph journal entry. Moreover, there has not been a full-paragraph entry since last year’s Nebraska/Northwestern football game weekend.  Here are some thoughts about that:

  • If I include a few more details, it might make it easier to “transform” when typing into a full journal.
  • My typing speed is much faster than my writing speed.
  • Even when on vacation, the availability of a smartphone leads to possible distraction, and so my journaling timeliness suffers.
  • Or, the activities are almost-literally nonstop, like Molly’s wedding weekend or my Doctoral Victory Tour. I’d rather take short notes than try to keep up a bunch of paragraphs. Particularly since bringing the journal to certain places is quite taboo…
  • And for some of the “new days” when I moved to Menomonie, I had so many other things going on that I couldn’t write full paragraphs in my journal.

Who knows? At some point, I plan to find a way to cut out some distractions and write full-paragraph journals when on vacation. I can’t let technology completely take over my writing!

Maybe it’s a pre-New-Year’s New Year’s resolution I can make…


Thanksgiving Day: 22 days.

Joint Mathematics Meetings: 63 days.

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