Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Watch your back, Wilford Woodruff...

Last night, just before midnight, I passed a modest milestone by filling the last page of my ninth journal since returning home from my LDS mission to Chicago. This is notable for a couple of reasons. First, as many people have observed, my handwriting comes in at about 9-point font at best, which means filling the pages of an entire journal-let alone nine-is no easy task.

The second is a bit more interesting. Along the way, I've put together a daily writing streak that is fast approaching eleven years in length. I don't know the exact count, but right now I'm somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,000 consecutive entries. They aren't always very long, some are little more than a quick statement or a brief summary of the routines of the day, but in some way or another, every day for the last decade is accounted for. I've got a while to go before I threaten Wilford Woodruff's writing streak-his reportedly lasted decades, according to that "Mountain of the Lord" movie-but I think I can still feel good about the effort.

The first entry in the streak was appropriately penned up in Island Park at my grandparents' place in the summer of 1998. I was about six months removed from my missionary duties, and two days removed from a fantastic first date that never saw a second (a theme that picks up steam over the next several years). Back then I was about halfway through a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication up at the University of Utah, and mostly excited to be up in Yellowstone during the last summer of unlimited speed limits in rural Montana. Unfortunately, I was only driving a 1988 Honda Prelude at the time, and wasn't able to get going any faster than 112MPH downhill.

Last night's entry was a tad more sober. A lot has taken place in 4,000 days, and the tendency now is to look back more than forward, even though that isn't the way it should be. See, that's one of the strange distortions of being single: if you're 30 and married, you're basically a kid with your whole life ahead of you. If you're 30 and single, you're the geriatric of your social group, worried that your day in the sun has passed. It's like you have the shelf life of a professional basketball player. When Kareem Abdul-Jabbar retired from the NBA, he was barely into his 40's, which for all intents and purposes would suggest that the bulk of his life was ahead of him. Yet as a professional athlete, he had a foot and a half in the grave.

These days sometimes I feel like I should be running around in goggles and nutter shorts, but if for some reason I do kick off prematurely, at least I'll leave some creative rants behind. Almost eleven years' worth, and counting.