When you move, there are always things that get lost. I wrote about Nietzsche recently, but one of the puzzles from my latest move, now approaching four years ago, was my college diaries. (I have to be careful not to write dairies, since my spelling could use some attention.) I used to keep diaries. I haven’t done so since early in my married life, and even a little before. While looking for an empty notebook for use at work, I discovered two diaries in the attic. I’d been looking for them for, it’s safe to say now, years. I spend quite a bit of time in the attic, so the fact that I didn’t find them in plain sight—a virtual purloined diary—was odd. But not nearly as odd as what happened next.
It was still part of our internet-free weekend. Unable to get online, and having done my morning writing and reading, and with family listening to things in the background (I can’t read or write with background sounds such as music or talking), I picked up one of the diaries. It was a lesson in the fragility of memory as well as how reading your own words from the past can make the present seem unreal. It was a veil, if that’s not too Pauline, that came over me. Who was that young man? Was my life really that chaotic? Were friends really that generous? Did I really know that many people? Why have specific ones stayed in mind while others who clearly meant so much of me slipped and fallen in my gray matter?
Like encountering a younger version of yourself, reading diaries opens new windows of self-reflection. I guess I hadn’t remembered myself being as self-reflective as that man in his mid-twenties was. Perhaps still is. If you’ve spent any time on this blog you’re probably aware of my tendency to look at things from different angles. To think things through. My own brand of neurodiversity is what I think I have to offer. I try to save my academic stuff for my published writings, but when as many years have passed, I wonder if I will look back on my early posts here and find myself asking who it was that wrote them. Youth is a time of acquiring new experiences unlike any other. Having grown up with so very little, the world itself seemed only days old back then. If memory serves.