Perhaps the most regular thing about this blog has been the fact that I have constantly been given over to unplanned hiatuses (hiatii?), in spite of the huge help that this writing so often is to my life as a whole.
When I first started this blog, it was not so much for the purpose of self-aggrandisement, but more as a way of venting, of pursuing a kind of creative catharsis. There’s so much that runs through my head that I can’t put into creative works.
Not every idea is the basis of a story or song. Not every idea has its place in glory and lyric. Sometimes it comes down to the simplicity of a journal entry. In an effort to constantly improve myself, I have taken to writing in a gratitude journal.
But there continues to be so much that I cannot properly express. There is so much that still needs to be said. At first I found it discouraging that I had such easy access to the statistics of my blog’s performance via this website. I later realised how irrelevant it was.
It’s not about having the most popular blog. Many days I can count on one hand the number of people who are likely to have actually read through this entire post. But it’s about me having a record of my thoughts, my emotions. Some proof, perhaps, of my own life’s struggles and my quest to honestly express them.
I’ve tried to write here regularly. But no one sees how often I pick up a pen, or open a new word document, only to give up in frustration. This applies to all my writing. Sometimes I feel pangs of regret about people I’ve wronged in the past, and seek to pen a letter bemoaning all the terrible things I feel I’ve done if it’ll make them tell me that it’s all okay.
But as strong as such desires are, there are times when poetry and prose fail me. There are times when the arbitrary dictates of ‘normal’ and ‘acceptable’ and ‘tactful’ are enough to stop me. I’m no crazy for feeling regret for the past, but that person I hurt that one time probably doesn’t think of it nearly as often as I do.
The real reason I haven’t blogged in so long is because of my novel. I finished it.
At seventy thousand words, it’s a lot shorter than I had anticipated when I first pursued it, but it feels complete. When I hit submit as I sent it off to a competition, I had to come to terms with the notion that it’s not perfect. It is, in a sense, complete.
So it is with the chapters of our lives. There may be times when we haven’t acted perfectly or honourably or truly or kindly, but however much we may want to change these things now, they are complete.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca once wrote that “life is divided into three periods, past, present and future. Of these, the present is short, the future is doubtful, the past is certain.” Stoicism (the philosophical school to which Seneca belonged) says much about the importance of understanding what is and isn’t in your control. The past is forever out of the control of us all. We cannot change it. We should not try.
However there are things that we can change. We can change how we react to the past. We should see it not as a painful injury that ails us even now, but a memory to remind us of how far we have come, and how important it is to forever strive to be better than we were. We do these things not that others may see it and flatter us, but that we might achieve our goals and become better people for it.