I write a lot about “looking back”. (A lot: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 21 more posts, plus “looking back” has another 17 posts.) I clearly believe—I really do—that looking back is best for assessing things.
And yet… stress, unhappiness. (Important: Words left unsaid.)
By all objective metrics, I’m as successful today as I could hope to be a decade ago. I’m happily married, well inside the richest 1% globally, have found my tribe and earned some respect in it. I should be able to relax and take some satisfaction in my current situation. And yet the thought that in 5 years my life will look exactly like it does today fills me with dread.
~ Jacob Falkovich from, https://putanumonit.com/2019/08/15/unstriving/
My title is a nerdy reference to a small detail in the article. But it’s also a nerdy reference to how I feel that everything I write is simply derivative. Nonetheless, I’m looking back. I’m assessing my progress. I’m making some plans and I’m cutting red tape.
I’ve often mentioned journaling. A few years after I began journaling seriously, I started taking time to read my older journal entries. Initially, I was setting aside some dedicated time early each month to simply spend time with my old journal entries. I was just randomly hopping around looking up things, and reliving old adventures (at least, those I’d taken the time to write about.) I soon ended up with bookmarks at various number-of-years-ago.
Eventually I wanted to reign in the time I was spending reading. (The author of my journals is the most fascinating person I know of, so I can really get lost navel gazing into my journals.) I process-ified the entire thing (which I’ll skip explaining because it’s not important) and now, every day, I read my journal entries from 1-, 3-, 6-, and 9-years-ago. It only takes a few minutes and it is endlessly illuminating.
Oh the adventures I’ve had! The thrills… the spills… the ups and downs!
[…] most of the fun is in the experience and not in the reminiscing. We don’t actually spend most of our days enjoying memories. How many minutes yesterday did you spend thinking about that trip you took last year?
~ Jacob Falkovich from, https://putanumonit.com/2016/05/11/shopping-for-happiness/
This article by Hoffman is typical. You’ll probably love it or hate it. The part I’ve quoted is way down in the middle part and not a major point. But it leapt off the page for me. I’ve long known that journaling has at least corresponded with my improvements, in the sense that it has raised the depth of the downward dips—this is a very important achievement. Alone, it’s reason enough that I intend to never cease journaling. Hoffman’s mentioning reminiscing as being a valuable activity related to happiness, has made clear another reason to never cease.