On this solemn anniversary and on the verge of completing yet another pandemic-era journal, my thoughts turn to my routine of keeping a journal once more, although from a different angle than from how I’ve explored it previously. I’ve talked a lot about the act of keeping a journal when it’s become so scarce to see from others, writing through major global events, and also the simple satisfaction of having a place to document everything that’s on your mind, without fear of judgment. But today, I’m thinking about a journal entry that could have been written, had I started keeping one just a little bit earlier than when I did.
As I mentioned in my initial post about keeping a journal, I started actively writing in one five months after 9/11 happened. While I had been given journals before then, this was really the first time where it stuck and has since carried through with me to the present day. In retrospect, I think that because I was subconsciously aware of the different era we were living in at that point that that is what compelled me to start writing down my thoughts and day-to-day occurrences.
My journal has become a keepsake of everything going on in my personal life, but also of the different histories that I’ve lived through. I remember exactly where I was and what I was feeling the day Barack Obama was elected president of the United States, because I have a journal entry that recaptured that day. I remember the sense of undeniable dread when Donald Trump was elected his successor, because I had written all my feelings from that day down on paper. I will remember the day-to-day life of this – at this point – prolonged pandemic, because I’ve been writing down everything.
And yet, I cannot help but wonder what a journal entry from me would have looked like on the day 9/11 happened. I was really young when the attacks occurred and to this day, I consider it one of the scariest days of my life. It was a history-defining event that has occurred in my lifetime, and while I have written down my memories of that day since then, I can’t help but be curious as to how younger me would have recounted all that had happened.
It’s something I contemplate a little deeper than usual this time around, as we’ve now reached two decades since this life-altering event took place. It pushed me to take the memories and experiences I carry with me into consideration as far as having a place to keep them all in. It’s really one of those “what if” scenarios had I started journaling prior to 9/11, and not be influenced by it to do so.
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