I just spent the last few hours reading over my first official “daybook,” penned twenty years ago, exactly. The pages are filled with dreams, good intentions, philosophy, devotions to God.
In other words, they’re penned with the same dreams, good intentions, philosophies, and devotions that I have written in my latest daybook, twenty years later, exactly.
What I’m supposed to be doing right now is working on a personal piece for an anthology of original work written by 19 of the best teachers I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. I had this epiphany today that my contribution would be a braided piece combining the first and last daybooks of my involvement with this 6-credit graduate course. In 1989 I was a Fellow in the program. In 2008, I am team-teaching the course for the fourth time in the last six years.
Looking over the daybook, though, made me realize a horrible string of coincidental tragedies that have plagued me while involved in the Institute.
In 1989, I was still wiping the dirt from my father’s grave; we buried him in April of that year.
In 2003, the dirt stains were more prevalent; I had just buried my father-in law two weeks’ prior to the start of the program.
In 2005, I buried both my aunt and uncle a few months before the Institute; both died in tragic circumstances.
In 2007, just weeks before the Institute began, I buried both my mother and my mother-in-law.
Now, in 2008, I am hopeful that I will end my run with teaching this course on a very good, upbeat note; preferably, I will make it through next week without any tragedies.
Reading over the 1989 daybook, though, initially struck a melancholic note within me. I wasn’t necessarily pleased with the similarities between the two books, separated by 20 years. I felt like I hadn’t learned anything, I hadn’t grown or matured at all.
In fact, I felt like I was still the same person I was 20 years ago. That upset me greatly.
But in letting that settle within me a little, I’m beginning to look at this latest epiphany in a different light.
This is who I am. I will always be a little disorganized, I will always believe in a love that is greater than mere words, and I will always make somewhat unrealistic goals that, honestly, I simply won’t fulfill. I’ll beat myself up over it, eat a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food, get over it, plan to develop a better plan to thwart my inability to follow through, and set new unrealistic goals–and genuinely believe that things have changed.
And maybe they will for a few days. In the long run, though, I bet the farm that I’ll be writing a daybook entry in 2027 (God willing) about how I need to organize my life a little better, set new goals, write some new pieces (and submit them for publication, of course!), and believe that world peace is possible in my lifetime.
I sure hope they’ll be making Phish Food then. I hate to mess with routine.