Personal Archaeology 21: Unexpected Moments of Normal

The last two of my journals, which chronicled my junior and senior years of high school.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to write this post, because once I finish it, I will be completely done going back through the paper notebook journals from junior high and high school. They began sometime in the seventh grade and end the night of my high school graduation, where it then transitioned to a series of MS Word files. I’ve looked at those a little already, and I’ll get through them, so this is not the last of the journals.

But until I picked up journaling again in my 30s and 40s, these were the last handwritten ones and I have to say that I think I lost sometime by typing on my computer. Sure, they were still my thoughts and they were still very much real, even if I feel slightly disconnected from the screen and more connected to the written page.

On that written page is my senior year of high school, and what’s let of it after having written about applying to college and my pathetic love life? Well, normal things. Yeah, that sounds like a cop-out because this is a bit of a finale here (even though it’s not), but as I flipped through those pages in search of things to mine for material, I saw entries about field trips, hanging out with friends, and a lot of entries about how stressed out I was. Considering I’m always writing in my current journal about how stressed I am, that definitely tracks. And honestly, I can see the origins of my anxiety (or pretty much my undiagnosed anxiety).

And while it isn’t explicit, the fact that I was uncertain about my future and struggling with not having it all figured out yet was very much present. And put off, mainly because I was way too focused on making up for lost time as a senior (as I mentioned in my last post). I went away to college with only a vague idea of what I wanted to do, and all these years later wonder if I should have taken a gap year, even if that was something my generation really didn’t do.

But this has to be well-worn territory by now, and that’s why I’ve had a hard time writing this closing entry to those teenage journals, the journals that end the night I graduated high school with a story I told a while ago, which bookended high school in a way that I I couldn’t have written better myself. So with all of that already said and everything else also recapped, what do you go with for a conclusion?

Well, wholly appropriate for myself and for the time I’m looking at, I go to an Angela Chase quote:

People always say you should be yourself, like yourself is this definite thing, like a toaster or something. Like you can know what it is even. But every so often I’ll have like, a moment, when just being myself in my life, right where I am, is like, enough.

I have no hesitation when it comes to letting them go, just like I’ll have no problem deleting the MS Word version that I used to sporadically chronicle college. But for all of the cringe-worthy material found in these journals, I have felt a fondness for them. Yes, there has been a lot of angst and embarrassment, which I’ve certainly focused on, but the best parts are the parts in between where everything felt normal and something actually fit.

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