I have been a participant observer in my own life for a very long time. My first written notes about what I observed were in a diary that I received as a gift when I graduated from eighth grade. I was diligent about writing in my diaries. When I left home to attend college, my mother found my diaries, read them, and trashed them. I never could understand why she would do such a thing.
Except for brief periods, I continued to be a participant observer in my life. I kept journals of my every day as well as extraordinary experiences. Now, at this stage of my life, I have decided that time is too precious to write daily about what I observe and experience. It’s time to reflect on what I’ve observed over the years, to realize what I’ve learned, and to embrace all parts of the experience.
I wrote my journals to be aware of what was happening around me, to be my companion, to be my confidant. I didn’t write them to be read. So now that I am doing just that, I can take the time I did not have previously to discover patterns and themes. Reading my journals now, it is as if I’m excavating precious pieces of history that when put together will define my life as only I could observe it.
An obvious pattern is that change is constant. One day all is right with the world, and not long after that, the opposite is true. Sometimes the rise and fall of circumstances occur within a day or two, or within a week.
And, whether I use the word or not in my writings, love is a theme. When I read entries that I interpret as the love theme, I empathize with the self that I described then by being tender, kind, and loving to the self that I am now. I’m so glad that I have lived long enough to show myself the love that I think no one else could have given me.