The 2013 Journals – Lessons From A Year Well Lived

Two years ago this New Year’s Eve, I committed to writing regularly in a journal. I had done the journal thing before, but I had never managed to be consistent enough, never descriptive enough, never good enough – there was always something that left me unsettled about how I had been documenting my life.

So as I rung in 2012 I made it my goal to write more, and with that resolution I discovered the only journalling format that ever really stuck for me. I would type up whatever was on my mind – events that were happening in my life and how I felt about them, what I thought of them – and save each of them as a PDF file on my computer. As the months progressed I went from writing every week, to writing a few times a week, to writing almost every single day. My goal for 2014 is to write without missing a day.

As 2013 came to a close I started reading through this year’s journal entries and I thought it would be neat to compile quotes from those journals that express some of the lessons life taught me this year. These are taken out of the context of the situations with which they were written (in some cases, probably for the best…haha) but I think the quotes speak for themselves. Without further ado, here is my 2013:

All personal theories are subject to change. (I still have plenty of learning to do.)

By definition chasing is one-sided. If we are chasing a person, what we are saying is that they are definitely not chasing us back. If they were, we wouldn’t be chasing them. We would have caught them by now. We would have them. If we are chasing, we must not have them. And there is always a reason for that. – 1/6
There are a million great feelings I hope to find wherever I go but maybe the beauty of falling in a unique brand of love with each individual person we meet is that they simply cannot be replaced, that they cannot be found anywhere in our lives except where they are. – 1/11
Sometimes we expect results too soon and we allow it to make us feel like we have in some way failed. I think we often get the thing we want, but we get it slightly later, a phase or two after the phase we spent so strongly desiring it. – 1/19
He can love me like that, even though he knows me so well. I think when we encounter a person like this we are tempted to want to love them back, even if we have to force ourselves or convince ourselves, because we think it must be so rare and unusual that someone can know us and love us at the same time. – 3/12
She’s probably in there thinking many of the same things about me that I have thought about her. I find that this is the case with most disagreements – you have two people thinking the same thing about each other but in opposite ways. – 4/28
You need to be able to laugh when you are forced to witness your freshman year boyfriend and your freshman year best friend making out on the back of a boat. – 5/15
And I realized that the people who know the right way probably learned it from having attempted the wrong way many, many times until the right way was one of the only ways left. – 5/19
Sabotage is the highest form of flattery. – 6/3
We always know when we are settling. If we’re not settling, we are too busy being overwhelmingly happy and thankful wondering how the heck we got so lucky to ask ourselves if we might be settling. When we truly aren’t settling, the word “settling” is the farthest thing from our mind. If you’re pulling yourself aside in a metaphorical corner to really ask yourself whether you’re settling, you are settling. – 6/28
And I realized that if we are getting rejected by great things, it means we are on the right track. Because we could be getting rejected by mediocre things, or even being accepted by mediocre things, and both of those would indicate that we have only been aiming for mediocre things. – 6/30
Something great about publishing an article online is that so many people have access to it. Something terrible about publishing an article online is that…so many people have access to it. – 7/9
Immaturity is really, really loud. Maturity doesn’t have to be loud, because it knows how to be right and quiet at the same time. People who actually care about you improving and becoming a better person will sit you down in a corner somewhere and calmly tell you what you can do better next time. – 7/9
I have a feeling that in his prayers tonight, he might have mentioned being grateful for the surprise God gave him in spending the evening talking to someone who he never expected to run into, who maybe said a few good things that got him into a better mindset about the week ahead. And so maybe tonight, I get to be the person who someone is thanking God for. What more could we really want? – 7/19
Rejection has everything to do with you. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you, necessarily, but it does always mean that whatever package you have to offer is not what the person you are offering it to is looking for at the time. It means that they are looking for something, and that you are not it. What they are looking for and what you are, are two different things. That is what rejection means. – 7/22
I don’t think they’re bad people. I think they showed me a bad side of themselves and it might be the only side I ever get to see. – 8/14
They say fear is of the mind, and I understand that. But I don’t see why that would make it any less real. – 8/28
Fear may be life’s most powerful motivating force. When we fear, we act. We don’t stand still. – 9/2
The people whose minds you have truly blown will walk out of there silent and reflective, thinking about that one sentence that revolutionized the way they think about life. They will usually be too enthralled with the discovery to let you know if you were a part of it. – 9/3
Teachers teach you how to study for tests and follow instructions, but no one in college tells you what it is you’re supposed to do when you no longer have people telling you what to do. School doesn’t prepare you for life. School prepares you to read and then wait for further instruction that may never come. – 9/20
Sometimes life gives you an unexpected gift, where a series of ordinary events takes a turn for the spectacular, where you don’t even know how it worked out the way it did but you certainly couldn’t have planned it if you tried. Cherish those gifts. – 9/30
Maybe loneliness is a blessing more than it is a curse. It forces us to let down our inhibitions and talk to people. To say hello, and then to continue and say whatever comes next. Loneliness forces us to take that step. It is the blank page that makes us write something or draw something, if for no other reason than merely to rid ourselves of the nothingness. – 10/3
You’re not over it if you’re still waiting for the answer to change. – 10/4
And that’s when it’s going to happen. That’s when it always happens. When you’re someplace else. We make ourselves so available, so apparent for the things we want, but the things that really want us in life would seek us out and find us even if we were hiding. Even if we were nowhere to be found. – 10/4
I drove around by myself today – many of the same roads and neighborhoods that we traversed together. That’s the thing about magic: it is circumstantial. Like a fairy dust that scatters and then disappears into thin air, magic is there at one moment and you’ll find that when you return to the place where you once found it, it is gone. – 10/28
Sometimes it is more rewarding to be lost than it is to be safe. Because when you are lost you can get found, and you learn. When you are safe, you complacently go nowhere. – 10/30
We are not the only thing that changes – things and places and circumstances change too. And sometimes, there is no going back. – 10/31
I love being wrong about people, because it means that 1) I have a constant reminder that people are more complex than any label I could possibly attribute to them, and 2) I got to know a person well enough and thoroughly enough to draw the conclusion that my initial impressions were inaccurate. – 10/31
Our strongest relationships are the ones we aren’t constantly keeping tabs on. Because they just are. Life is easier when we just let it be, but sometimes it feels impossible not to grasp, just a little, toward the things we think we need. – 11/8
I’m not sure I believe in mistakes anymore. I think we do the things we do for a reason and if we are wise we will learn from everything all the time, not just the things we think we should have done differently. – 11/25
It’s not every day that we are able to glimpse what is being done in our lives beyond the scope of the day-to-day. But every once in a while we can’t help but look at a situation and say, “this is happening for a reason.” – 11/25
I came into this somewhat unguarded, but now I feel like I need to tread softly. He didn’t have a positive reaction to my honesty, which only means that I’m going to have to censor it a little more from now on. This is how life teaches us to only tell manageable truths. To only be a palatable amount of real. – 11/29
There’s this strange thing about first impressions: Sometimes they’re awful and they make us nervous, but sometimes they’re the best side of a person we will ever see and everything goes downhill from that point forward. – 12/7
Imagining is inevitable, but reality is always different. – 12/7
Introversion isn’t about being antisocial – it’s not that thought out. It’s more like being in a room all by yourself and getting distracted, losing track of time, because everything you need is right there with you. And then remembering there’s a party going on downstairs… – 12/25
Some people live in the world, and some people create their own. – 12/30

As I read through the experiences 2013 brought with it, I am thankful that I took the opportunity to document the events in my life and the valuable lessons that came with them. This year I lived well, but I want the coming year to be about creating, about putting out into the world just as much as I take in. It is one thing to learn, but the other half of the battle is knowing how to apply those lessons and give back. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image – Shutterstock

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