The great philosopher Socrates was alleged to have said: “The unexamined life is not worth living” or something very close to it. Whether he truly said this or not, the quote is one that is valuable to digest. How many of us take the time to review the past experiences of our or others’ lives and integrate those learning times into our future? Very few of us I suppose.
In my quest to continue to grow and live a meaningful life, I’ve once again begun the habit of keeping a journal with me to capture thoughts, write out problems, share solutions (or failures) and learn from them. So many times an idea or thought comes to mind and I try to find a place and time to remember these bits of information and capture them but in the long run, many go forgotten. It’s simply too hard to remember it all. At other times, I struggle with feelings and emotions which can consume me. I’ve learned in the past year since my weight loss experience (written about on this blog) that I will never see myself as truly being thin. I will always have a mental picture of me as being fat and that image is one that can unknowingly lead me to neglect other areas of my growth. I took some time away from the blog in 2012 to focus on some big life changes that came my way after the weight loss. One of the discoveries I made was that in making major changes in my life, especially after entering my 40’s, I had failed to capture the source of much of the negative energy that was hindering me in areas known only to myself.
As I began planning my goals for 2013 I began looking into ways to better review and grow from these feelings and thoughts. Journaling is a good way to do this. By keeping a journal close at hand, you can capture thoughts on paper in the moment. By reviewing them, you can see trends in your thinking that can limit and sometimes block your learning. It’s also good to review the ideas, quotes, and other gems you capture along the way and integrate those into your thinking as you review your entries and plot a new trajectory for your life. I know some who read these words will say “That’s too much work!” and you’re right to a degree. It is work. Too much? I don’t think so. Not when I can see the potential for growth by building a new habit. The work in writing is one thing. The additional work in reviewing what you write, crafting solutions, and sharing those follow up thoughts is even more work but it can be so very rewarding if you give it time. Face it, in five years you can be in the same rut you’re in now or you can plot a new course for growth and living a full life and make changes as you spot habits and trends in your journals and be more fulfilled down the road. Which do you choose?
I purchased some audio programs to listen to as I work out that helped with me ideas for journaling and working on my thoughts. My daily time in God’s Word helps in this endeavor with the wisdom of the ages to address all of what I write about. It’s a win-win situation for the person committed to personal growth. As I march toward my 50th birthday (in a few years) I’m already in the full throws of mid-life. I’ve begun thinking about where I’ll be in other ten years when 60 lies over the horizon should God allow me to live that long. I want to look back with no regrets. I want to grow more now than I did in my 20’s when I thought I had an eternity to live. I want to leave my family with a legacy of living.
The unexamined life IS not worth living. Taking the time to grow and improve shouldn’t fade as you get older but rather, it should be a refining time for you to take your rich life experiences, share them, and grow from them. Start today!