Every year I make vague plans to complete a long and continuous work of writing and instead I wind up scribbling short observations and reflections about daily events. I suppose it’s my way of bending rather than breaking with the modular work calendar that governs my weeks, days, hours. And it’s a way of writing at least something when I’m too busy with work projects or emails.
In the past I have also used the daily calendar format as a basis for creative projects, but this year’s collection is more straightforward. These 200 or so entries were expanded from my initial notes to paint a portrait of a year that was by turns Epicurean, difficult, transitional, sad, and at times also very fun.
Seeing all these moments in one place reminds me how rich in relationships, humor, and experiences my life really is (even if many important people and events are not expressly mentioned here). It highlights things that I may be overlooking or failing to do, or that I may need to change in my life.
I also find writing daily or near daily entries enormously helpful in keeping track of what happens to my time, cataloging big life events and small moments alike. Seeing everything in one places helps me get a sense of what kind of year it was, and it’s a more accurate barometer of life’s ups and downs than what you might find on social media.
I admit this kind of writing may be more fun to write than to read. The tenses jump around a lot from one day to the next. It’s a bit personal in places. But I think there’s enough here to be of interest to at least a few of you, even if it’s just to provide a moment of “Hey, I could do this!” (you absolutely could, and maybe even should).
You can’t slow down the time, but pausing to appreciate the good, difficult, unique, and interesting moments makes daily writing a worthwhile exercise. My grandpa B, who always seemed joyful and at peace in his later years, said that life’s greatest reward was the knowledge that you have lived it well.
Right now I’m a very long way from that kind of sanguine wisdom. But after the seemingly interminable uncertainties of the past few years, I’m learning to take longer breaths again, calm down a bit, look further ahead.
Who knows, maybe this will be the year I write something longer. Until then, please enjoy, politely skip on past, or better yet, pick up your pen or notes app and write a few entries yourself. For the intrepid water rabbit of 2023, it’s not too late to start.