The adage that “It’s the journey, not the destination” had new meaning for me today. I was flipping through some of my notebooks looking for a phone number, and I discovered buried treasure. Let me start with an explanation of my notebooks. Years and years ago, when my three children were in preschool, they wanted to have notebooks from Staples at the start of the school year. They were learning the alphabet and knew that writing letters and words was, in some way, relevant to notebooks. At
$0.79 per notebook, I could justify the splurge. After five or ten pages of diligent “writing,” the notebooks were abandoned. Target had a special, they were $0.29 each. I stocked up. Before long, I had a shelf space dedicated to cheap, three subject notebooks. One day, I needed to jot down some notes when I was on the phone with a customer service rep from our health insurance company. I pulled out a notebook and started to scribe. I dated the page, recorded the name of the person with whom I was speaking and the specific points we covered that day. While I was on hold, I covered the page with vines growing out of letters and fruit dangling from trees that further decorated my work. Two weeks later, when I was on the phone with the huge, impersonal, insurance company, I could hold my ground because I had taken down names and had indisputable details, including the call’s reference number. It was more like a baby-step than a leap that propelled me into the habit of jotting down conversations, to-do lists and inexplicable life-changing insights in these cheap notebooks.
Circling back to the point at hand. Today, I held a notebook in my hand and let the pages fly. Memories and words and problems and solutions soared by. What struck me most was that I had some keen insights tucked among the notes reminding me to take the dog to the vet and urging me to send my father an Easter card. What I discovered was that these astute observations made an appearance in ALL of my notebooks going back to the early nineties. A nagging suspicion grew. Down in the basement, in a banker’s box with my name on it are my writing journals going back to the seventies. Persistently, woven among my introspection, self-absorption and yes, I will confess, whining, there are clear and succinct messages about life. I believe that these messages may be helpful to others who are finding their way. All I can say is that it is as if I have been receiving messages for most of my life -- then, unconsciously writing them down -- but they were like any mineral. Buried in beds of rock, the messages, like gold, must be extracted. Now it is time to begin mining.