||[Jul. 29th, 2014|12:47 am]
|||||"Dear Diary" -- Lauren Dair Owens||]|
July 19th marked this journal's tenth anniversary. It's hard for me to overstate how much this Livejournal account has meant to me over the past ten years of my life. As I look back through over nine hundred entries, I witness with striking clarity the progression I have made from an awkward, shy fourteen-year-old guy about to begin high school to the still kind-of-awkward 24-year-old sitting here writing this entry. It's a pretty incredible metamorphosis. And it's all captured on the cyber-pages of this journal.
The past ten years have seen an enormous shift in technology and, consequently, the way people make a name for themselves and relate to the world around them. Social media seems to have completely eradicated any desire for people (in general) to use a platform like this. When your thoughts can be encapsulated in a 140-character tweet, a brief status update, or an photo captioned with hieroglyphic emojis, there is no need to pause and reflect, no need to belabor your feelings or expound upon your ideas. Pith and humor are the extent of what you must aim to express. Your goal is to show everyone what is going on in your life at that exact moment, which will probably be similar to what everyone else is doing. Beach trip? Eating a good meal? Selfie at the gym? It's all just prescribed shared experiences. The extent of personalization or adding commentary to your experience ends with your choice of an Instagram filter.
This website did so much more. Whether it was a short entry or a long entry, one that probed existential ideas or one that simply recounted notable events, everything was captured in my own words. The blank update screen gave me the constant goal of expressing myself clearly, of saying something that mattered, of venting about bad experiences and celebrating positive ones. My journey through adolescence and early adulthood could never have been captured so intimately, so thoroughly, with just a series of tweets or pictures. As Natasha Bedingfield said, "these words are my own." And even though I cringe at the awkwardness and naivety of my earlier entries, I am proud of all of my words and what they have done for me.
It takes a great deal of soul-searching and pensive reflection to hold on to the things that matter, the memories and experiences that shape who we are and how we choose to live. Keeping a journal has allowed me to do that. As the years have passed, my entries have become fewer and farther between, and at this point I don't know for how long my words will continue to be destined for cyberspace. But the past ten years have taught me that there's only one way to make sense of the world... and to make sense of myself. And that's to write and write and write until somehow, inexplicably, I feel like I've got it all figured out.
Until the next entry, that is. Here's to another ten years.