Starting a new journal is both exciting and terrifying at the same time. Many writers actually write the first chapter of their manuscript last, after the painstaking efforts of creating their masterpiece and they have a better idea of how the book should really begin. Beginnings have to be just right as they set the tone for the rest of the work. So for that reason I always leave the first page blank of any journal I start. I want to hold onto that possibility of going back and writing that amazing first entry after all the days and pages of warming up, something that will set the tone of of the journal. But unlike a book manuscript I rarely go back and fill it in. Most of my old journals still have that blank, clean, white sheet of paper, waiting to be written on. It reminds me of how I want to live my life–full of promise, hope, and always leaving room for dreams.
I was working with some writer friends (and of course we were talking when we should have been writing) when our discussion focused on what we thought a midlife crisis was. We came to the conclusion that it happens when a person looks back at their lives and realizes that things are not exactly as they thought they would be when they originally envisioned their future. So they miss the mark and focus on YOUTH, the time when their dreams were the strongest and everything lay straight ahead as a clean, white, crisp page in their lives ready to be written on. When they were young they believed that the writing on that page would merely be a reflection of fulfilled dreams and plans. And when they stopped and turned around to actually read the ink the shock of unplanned words throws them into a tail spin. So in comes the red Ferrari, the newer models in partners, the bleach blonde hair.
As writers who have ended up living fairly average lives with husbands, kids, and mortgages we decided it wasn’t prudent to try and recapture the feeling of youth but rather recapture the dreams we had in our youth. And since our dreams of sitting across from Oprah are not going to materialize (only because she is retiring) we just needed to tweak our dreams a bit. It may involve changing the face of that interviewer. The trick is to still have a dream, to look forward to something, to stretch for.
Keep a blank page open. Be ready for possibilities. Be available for dreaming.
Get ready to smile . . .