I have a thing about blank journals. I really love them – the beautiful covers, the pristine pages, the stiff spines. I can’t even begin to tell you how many I’ve bought over the years. Here’s the wrinkle (b’cause you knew there would be one): I don’t like to write in them. I don’t want to mess up the snowy pages. I admitted that in a bookstore with my aunt once and thought that both she and the saleslady were going to succumb to laughter-induced hypoxia. I didn’t really think it was all that funny.
The empty book can be anything; but, the second I write in it, then I’ve defined it as something. In a shrink-wrapped mind, maybe I am avoiding limiting the potential.
One of the best parts of my job is networking. I go out and meet some fantastic people who do some interesting and sometimes bizarre things. Last night found me with a group of female entrepreneurs. Event organizer April shared a powerful visual that reminded me of all my empty journals.
Imagine that I find myself in the presence of my maker who holds a book. The first half of that book is filled with pages that are the story of my life to this point. Each event carefully cataloged and recorded in precise detail. Even memories I have lost still live in those pages. But, the second half of the book is filled with fresh, immaculate pages. These pages await the story of my choosing. The story doesn’t necessarily have to be a logical continuation of the first half. This part of the story hasn’t been written or even conceptualized yet. What do I want it to be?
The empty pages of my journals may have represented undefined potential; but, in reality, when Hurricane Katrina destroyed my beautiful collection, the books were really rather sad. Like the ship in the adage, “A ship in harbor is safe. But that is not what ships are built for,” my books were safe. Their potential was unlimited; but, in the end, they were never used even for their purpose. Their potential was both unlimited and unrealized.
And so it goes with the rest of my life – the pages are blank. The story is unwritten. Do I let the first half of the book define and limit the second half or do I wrest control from momentum and write a new story? What words, thoughts, beliefs and actions do I want to comprise the story of the second half of my life? Will I have the courage to write them?
Yes, I will. At this likely halfway point, I’ve already redefined my body, my thoughts and my career. If the story becomes a movie as I write it, you go get the popcorn. I don’t want to miss this next part. This is when it gets really good.