James Clear in Atomic Habits says that the key to lasting habit is identity. When we set goals based on who we want to be, and who we know deep down we are, they stick.
I received my first journal from my Dad when I was 8, and the joy of record keeping stuck. In college wanting to keep my family in touch with my life, I sent home a weekly e-mail. When studying abroad in Italy I wrote home multiple times a week- wanting to share what, at that time in my family, was a very privileged experience -traveling abroad. My mom would print out the letters and pass them out to my adopted grandma’s in the ward. One said to me later, “I felt like I experienced Italy with you!” And my eyes moistened, realizing I had achieved my goal. Sharing joy and wonder with others.
Years ago I kept an active blog. It was a huge part of my life, a passion project that filled me with incredible joy and gave me great fulfillment when I graduated from grad school and shifted into the role of full-time mothering. I still remember the sensation of being in the kitchen washing dishes and words and sentences dancing through my mind as I mentally rehearsed ways to articulate something I’d experienced. I’d change up the words, add in imagery, pin on some whit. I’d smile as funny ways of describing the simple act of feeding a toddler would come to mind. Sometimes, I’d jot down a sentence or phrase on a scrap of paper so I’d remember when I went up “to write” later in the day.
And yet, despite all this writing, I was stunned when my mother-in-law, an avid reader and intellectual, suggested I write a book. Me, a writer? No. I’m just a simple girl, with an overwhelming desire, perhaps need, to share and express.
My writing has dwindled as the demands of my family have grown. But the pinning has never left. Every year I think, this is the year I return to writing. For I know that writing for me is so much more than record keeping. It’s therapy, it’s humor, it’s the daily exercise of finding meaning and wonder in life’s little happenings, and by putting those thoughts out into the webiverse, it’s my way of holding up a little light to brighten the world. I want everyone to know that life needn’t be mundane if one notices the change in the color of the setting sun when washing dishes, or the myriad of different ways your child’s eyes can sparkle when they feel truly seen.
So, I declare today, I am a person who writes. I am a record keeper, a generous-verbal-sharer, a proclaimer of the simple joys of ordinary life.