Earlier this week, I decided to revisit my journal from 2018. I suppose the goal was to see how much I had progressed since then. I was utterly disappointed, until I came across an entry from mid-February.
This entry caught my eye, mainly because it was illegible. My handwriting wasn’t any messier than it usually is, but the entry was written in neon green ink. I don’t usually write in colors other than blue, black, or purple. But apparently I must have gotten a new pack of pens, and was trying them out. Anyway, I struggled to read this thing that was written by my own hand. I had to twist and turn and hold the book up to the light. Finally, I grabbed a black pen and retraced every word. It was awkward, uncomfortable, maybe even painful.
That’s what retracing your steps feels like at times. No matter how careful you are to step into your own footprints, the steps just don’t seem to line up exactly as they did the first time. That’s how I felt as I clumsily traced my own handwriting. The words and the sentiment were definitely mine. In many regards I feel the same today as I did then. But, if given the chance to write that entry again now, I would say it differently. I would be more articulate. I would have used blue or black ink.
I’m going to call that growth. Doing the same things, saying the same things, thinking the same things as you did last year, ought to be awkward, uncomfortable, even painful.
I am growing. I cannot see it. I don’t always feel like it, but as I retrace my steps, I see that my footprints no longer fit where they used to, and that makes feel a little better about where I stand.