Sadly, while the title of this post does hark to Spinal Tap, “going to 11” in my case is not some cool guitar amp reference.
No, it is an admission of my failure to uphold my ONE TRUE New Year’s resolution: to write every day.
Things got knocked off course when I got in late Friday night/Saturday morning after meeting some old intern friends for drinks. I was just snuggling into bed at 2 a.m. when my brain flew back into consciousness and I realized I had missed my daily journal entry. I knew I’d be upset with myself if I didn’t take the exercise seriously, so by the light of my cell phone I scrawled something to the effect of, “I’m writing. It’s late. I’m tired. But I’m writing something so it counts. Good night.”
And I didn’t write again for three days.
General consensus says that it takes three weeks to form a habit. Twenty-one days. I managed half that. I guess this means I have to re-start my clock? Day two: going steady.
Sitting down every day to document my life was as hard as I thought it would be, and much less fulfilling. The past two times I have gone to visit my parents I’ve pulled an old journal or two from my shelf and stayed up all night laughing at my 20-, 21-, 22-year old self. So much was going on in my life, so many changes. College and studying abroad and moving every year. New dudes (this was the time that I actually started caring about them — I had better things to do in high school). Rampant uncertainty and excitement about my future. 22-year-old me was funny. She was open and clever and emotional and she wrote whatever came to mind.
25-year-old me writes about what she ate for dinner and what she watched that night on Netflix. She writes about the same guys over and over even though nothing changes with any of them. She writes almost the same things she did three years ago but without the buzz of first discoveries. And so sitting down and trying to dredge up feelings seems futile some days. (Not that I did it enough days to properly generalize.)
But maybe by scribbling in my hefty blue book every day (or every five days, as it is) and waiting for some soul-clarifying epiphany is missing the point. It’s about forming a habit — the same reason people resolve to hit the gym every day, or floss their teeth each morning, do anything with any regularity whatsoever. It’s so they can look back on the year and say, “Hey, I stuck with it. I wonder what else I can start doing to better my life just a little bit.”
Or, if my first month is any indication, “Failed again. I’ll try next year.”