Thursday, June 3, 2004
quote du jour:
"Another day, another entry. This is the fourth of what I hope to become many entries. I've tried private journals several times in my life, and I usually stop keeping up with them. My logic is that I know what happens in my life, so why do I need to write it down? I'm hoping to that having a few people stop by and take a look will force me to keep it going." -- Thomas Fletcher, June 5, 2000

I've been at it for so long that I can't even remember when I started or what got me started in the first place. But for the past few months, I've spent quite a bit of time at my mom's house sorting through the boxes, bags & stacks of stuff that (once) filled my room & closet.

Several generations of my family have possessed the "packrat gene" and I was obviously hit with it as well. Thinking back over my efforts, it wouldn't surprise me if I'd thrown out a dozen or more full-sized garbage bags full of stuff. That, of course, means that I'd saved that much stuff over the course of time. (We've lived in that house since 1995.) I had enough old papers from school & work for my own presidential library.

The entire process has been lots of fun. A massive cleaning like this one gives you a sort of re-birth feeling. It's also been one hell of a trip down memory lane -- and God knows that I love to take those. So how fitting was it that such a nostalgic experience would finally be complete the day before my journal turned four?

Near the end of The Big Clean of '04, I found my old Nokia 918 cell phone. Like all phones, the 918 was quite nice when I first got it in 1998 or early 1999. It had a whopping five ringtones to choose from and was the first phone I'd ever had with a phone book.

I replaced the analog 918 with a digital phone in the summer of 2000. That meant that the 918 had been stored away for nearly four years. After I found the matching AC adapter, I took the phone into the living room and plugged it in to charge.

The letters had worn off of most of the buttons shortly after I got the phone. So, I was flying blind for a bit after I turned it on Tuesday afternoon. I stumbled into the phonebook mode where it displayed only numbers. Some of them were familiar -- my mother, Jessie & some other friends. But I found a grouping that weren't. I began to play with the buttons and the phonebook switched to text mode. The strange numbers belonged to Lindsay. I felt like I'd opened a time capsule.

When I think about "Year 2000 Fletch," I know that I had no clue what the future held for me. Of course, none of us ever do. That doesn't stop us from making predictions... for holding on to hopes... and for doing our best to shape the path in the direction we want to go.

On the first, second & third birthday of my journal, the time that had passed between the first entry and the anniversary never seemed like much time at all. This year is different. Four years is quite a bit. Kids born on June 2, 2000 are now walking, talking and learning stuff in pre-school. The gap of time that has passed seems even greater when I think about where I'll be in 2008 -- four years from now.

This journal began with a storyline you guys had never heard. The early days presented the tale of a depressed, quasi-alcoholic journalism student who wanted to make his dreams come true... as soon as he figured what they were, exactly. In the four years that have passed, some parts of that story have developed nicely. I didn't flunk out of school. I graduated. I found the career I really wanted.

The big picture of the last four years has me moving forward. I'm in a place now that I couldn't have even imagined when I sat down to write my first entry on June 2, 2000. Hell, I wasn't even a firefighter then. But I also know that I've probably spent too much time looking back. The early days of the journal were exciting. It often seemed as though every day brought something new. But you can only rehash those stories so many times. I'm only 26 -- about 40 or 50 years too young to be a nostalgic ol' geezer.

I never would have guessed that "A Window Into My World" (the journal's first title) would grow to be four years old. So, I'm not really in any position to suggest how much more life it has left in it. I will say that my goal for the journal -- and for my life -- is to spend more time than I have in the now and with my head pointed forward. I hope you stick around for the journey.

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Copyright © 2004, Thomas Fletcher. All Rights Reserved.