Friday, October 6, 2017

My Personal - And Favorite - Source of Emotion and Discovery

I've kept a journal since May of 1976. I'm currently writing in Volume #86, and I have no plans to stop recording the everyday happenings, the special moments, or my thoughts about life as it happens. These volumes have served me well over the years. I consult them for specific details about important dates, and our children have even asked me to look up specific remembrances over time.

These handwritten tomes were of primary importance when R.J. and I were writing our first books about Walt Disney World, and, currently, I'm delving into them for our latest co-writing effort - about our take on Walt Disney World history - due to be published in the spring of 2018.

All of these journals reside in the glass-enclosed bookshelves above my secretary desk in my study. Today, I took Volume 34 from the shelf, and sat down to read about the week I spent waiting for the birth of our first grandson, Alex Michael. And why that one today? Because Alex turned 22 years old today, and I wanted to relive the day he entered our lives.

My mother had passed away in late July of that year, and I was still dealing with my immense sadness. On October 1st, I was greeted at the airport in Florida by my dad. He had paid for my flight so that I could be in Orlando when our daughter, Dawn, gave birth. I'm always surprised, whenever I re-read any of these pages, by the many details I've forgotten after so many years.

The complex emotions of that week touched me in ways I did remember today, and I could still  visualize many of the moments I had penned. I didn't recall, however, that Dawn and I finished decorating Alex's nursery the day after I arrived, with Winnie the Pooh cut-out figures that R.J. had made and painted. I was reminded as well that the baby border in the nursery was in a Mickey and Minnie theme. In addition, though I vividly remembered how long it took Alex to make his debut, I learned that, for years, I have incorrectly told people he was born at 7 p.m. in the evening, when the correct time was 8:40 p.m.!

I tell you all this because I've always encouraged writers, friends, and others to keep a journal. After all these years, it is still a source of joy, emotion, remembrance and discovery for me. I often open a random volume and just sit and relive a part of my life again. I learn from it, and I treasure it for a multitude of reasons. It's my hope that, someday, when I'm no longer on earth, our children will read my journals, and not only enjoy the years I've recorded, but maybe learn a bit more about me as well that they never knew.

Even if you're not a writer, you can just record what is important to you on a blank page. I guarantee that when you look back, you won't be disappointed - and you'll have a unique legacy that is totally yours. 

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