Friday, February 27, 2009

A Portrait of the Author as a Young Man

Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
--Alfred, Lord Tennyson, "Ulysses"

My wife has recently posted excerpts from my old journal on her blog, mostly as a way to mock me. I have decided to do the same. 

From 6/12/1997 to 8/28/1998 I kept the journal. I was a senior in High School at that time. A lot of what I wrote is really lame. Some of what I wrote is kind of funny, even though I didn't mean for it to be funny at the time. I took myself very seriously then, and the journal ended before I learned to laugh at myself. 

Here are two of my favorite excerpts. I like them because I think they capture best how I remember myself being at that time. 

from 7/1/97

"What would people think of me after reading the volumes of my life? I could say I didn't care, but that would be a lie. Anybody who doesn't care is lying--including myself! I do care a lot about most things. I want things to turn out right for people--somewhere inside of me I believe that. Maybe the part of me that I should show more. I don't show enough of myself. I plan to change that someday. Probably when my penmanship improves.

"Thus is life, I often say. I often say that to make me sound like a philosopher, when all I really am is one who points out something someone has already pointed out. That's the problem with this world. Everything has been said and done and we are just stuck waiting for something new to happen. 

"It is midnight, and if I had any sense, I would go to sleep.

"But I can't.

"Things go through the mind that keep you awake. Things that only clearly come to mind during the late hours of the day. Things too important or too unimportant to think about during the day. Things like the Eagle and college and all the crap like that. Other things--the unimportant things-- are the things that one enjoys thinking about at night. Things like having fun, etc. I think that's just as important, though." 

And, from 11/20/97

"I want to leave this place. The people here are driving me crazy. I could pick out only a hand full of people I like to spend my time with. I want to leave and find who I really am. Put all this crap I'm writing about in this entry into action. It seems life is struggling to keep a hold of me. If I don't break free from this life soon, I'll crack. Everything is going so slow. I want to get on with my life.

"I will never conform to any will but my own and God's. Now to put it into practice. I like God. He has help[ed] me through a lot. He is sometimes the only one I care to have anything to do with. I'd like to go out into the desert like Jesus did. I think I'd learn a bit. A bit more than I'm learning here, sitting around in the idleness of youth.

"There is a life out there for me. It will be my own life. Why do I feel, though, that my life isn't my own sometimes. We learn that we must be successful in life. I say that success is fleeting and one should focus on the stuff you can take with you." 


  1. Interesting insight. I think you have not only learned to laugh at yourself, but also you have found yourself - up to this point. There is always so much more to come!

    I'm not sure I'd have the guts to post journal excerpts from my youth on my blog! You are brave.

  2. I always love reading journal entries. They're fascinating looks into other people's minds (without all the blood and gore that another "look" into the mind might entail!)
    You sounded like a very mature young man in your entries. I'm impressed with your desires for your life as a senior. I've met thirty year olds who haven't given as much thought to the direction their life is taking!
    I'm glad you've learned to laugh at yourself. I enjoy your sense of humor!