My life is a mystery to a lot of people, but those who manage to break through the ice will eventually learn at least three things: (1) in my mind, Harry Potter is not a fictional character, (2) I live and breathe through the keys of a piano, and (3) if my home were ever on fire, my first course of action would be to figure out how to remove my journals from danger in just one trip.
While Harry Potter books and pianos are replaceable (however guilty I may feel admitting this), I would be devastated if I lost those pages of my life's history. Half my memories would be gone forever and the rest would slowly fade, I wouldn't have a record of all my funny dreams, and, most importantly, I would lose documentation of my personal learning cycle.
I think the reason most people don't get into journal writing is because they approach it with a this-is-what-I-did-today attitude, recording events like they're outlining a meeting itinerary. I started out that way (it's much cuter when an eight-year-old does it), but within a few years I had mixed it with a this-is-what-I'm-thinking-about approach, which is why I never tire of reading the story of my life.
I am currently typing up my journal from year 16 of my life (having an electronic version of my records will make it a lot easier to grab and go when that fire comes). I've noticed an eerie number of parallels between my life then and my life now. Not so much the events, but the thoughts and experiences. I complained about the same things then that I'm complaining about now, and I learned lessons back then that I was sure I figured out for the first time months ago.
So I'm a little indignant--at myself, I guess--that most of the life-changing realizations I had when I was 16 didn't stick. By the time my 24-year-old self came to fruition, many of those lessons had to be relearned.
Indignance aside, I've decided it isn't a bad thing that I apparently go through the same learning cycle every eight years (judging from my rather short life thus far). Human nature may tell us that to learn something twice means you failed to learn the first time, but, well, we're just mortals. We can't be expected to remember everything, or to be molded after just one pass. Sometimes it takes multiple passes before an experience really adds to who we are.
And, if I got everything right the first time, I have a feeling that when my house catches fire and I see my life flash before my eyes, the only thought to cross my mind would be, "It was very boring."
I do find solace in the fact that I'm not exactly the same as I was when I was 16; that would be more than just a little depressing. A lot happens in a girl's life between the ages of 16 and 24, so I hope I would have learned something.
But, in the off chance I come across my 16-year-old self while walking down the street, I would have a few choice words with myself:
Live your own life; don't try to duplicate someone else's.
And yes, those words still apply.