How it All Began
When I was about 14 years old, a great teacher of mine told our class that diary writing was one of the best habits we could inculcate in life. I went home and wrote my first diary entry. Since then I've written diary entries almost continuously.
I am 32 years old now, almost 33. That means for the last 19 or so years, except for a few months here and there, I've kept up the habit of writing in a journal on a daily basis. That's more than half of my life. In fact, I write in my diary several times during the day. I've even kept a wordcount in the last few years and my yearly total can reach from a 100,000 words to 200,000 words. So even by a conservative estimate I've written over a million words in my diary.
That's 1,000,000+ words.
That's mind blowing, isn't it? I mean they can ask me to speak at a TED Talk on diary writing! Except for the fact that I'd feel like a hypocrite since I've now decided to quit this habit of mine.
Here's Why I'm Quitting
Diary writing is great. It helped me to make sense of my world and my thoughts. It taught me how to be analytical in my thinking and how to question my own prejudices and how to always try and stay as logical as possible. It helped me to organize, arrange, analyse and improve every area of my life.
But diary writing can only help to a certain point. It's not a miracle cure for everything. If you feel like you can't make sense of your own thoughts, then diary writing will certainly help you. But it can become a hindrance as well, especially if, like me, you take it to the extreme.
I've become addicted to diary writing. It's like a crutch for me. I can't think straight if I'm not typing my thoughts out at the same time. But the bigger problem I've noticed is that I've become cyclical in my thinking.
I go back and read my old diaries from time to time and every time I can't help but get the feeling that I'm going through the same shit over and over again. I'm stuck in a vicious circle inside my head. My real world progress has been glacial because I keep going back to square one, every few months. I still have the same goals that I had in 2003. I've improved a little bit on all of them, but I haven't really achieved any of them.
And these cycles seem to be getting shorter. Now I'm going through these cycles in a month. I have a few days of depression where everything seems bleak and I can barely find the motivation to get out of bed. Then I start getting anxious as freelance writing projects get closer to their deadlines. I don't get the fear of missing deadlines until I actually miss them. Then I try to work my ass off and even though the work is good, the clients are never fully satisfied because I almost always miss deadlines. I get frustrated because this means I'm either in a depressive funk or working on freelance projects, leaving my own writing on a perpetual hold. Finally, a long diary entry breaks the funk and I make lots of plans. I feel positive and motivated. I have 2 good days. Maybe 3. I start day dreaming about how great life is going to be from now on. I get so busy in this day dreaming that I stop following my plan. Things go haywire quickly. Negativity increases. I question my philosophy of life. And lo and behold I'm back in the light-less land of depression.
Excessive Thinking is a Disease
Diary writing is not the main culprit behind these cycles of mine. The main culprit is thinking. I think too much. And diary writing is a tool for my thinking. Excessive thinking or excessive day dreaming is now beginning to be considered a psychological problem. But what it really is, is just a side effect of the modern lifestyle where we are bombarded by information and distraction from all sides. We've forgotten how to simply be present in the moment.
At least I have forgotten it, for sure. And I'm trying to find it by reminding myself calmly, whenever I realize that I've been day dreaming for the last hour and a half, to come back to the present and just focus on the task at hand. Quitting all social media was part of it. And so is quitting diary writing.
I've thought about life and philosophy a lot. 19 years to be precise. And I'm just going around in circles. So, no more diary writing, no more trying to make sense of things, and no more trying to think my way out of my problems. It's time to become a doer. I want to relearn how to be present in the moment while doing things. Because my new philosophy simply is:
It's Always Right Now.
And I guess this blog is going to act as the Methadone to the Heroin of my diary writing habit.