Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Same Difference

Written yesterday, but due to unforeseen server problems and my lack of knowledge to fix them, it is being posted late.

I am exhausted. I had a fairly easy time falling asleep last night. I even think the extra room to spread out helped me with that, but the dogs... Oh, the dogs. I think they still expected Jon to come walking through the door even after I turned off all of the lights and climbed into bed. With every little sound they began howling as if an army of squirrels were setting up camp in the living room. They were alert, primed, and ready to protect me, while waiting for Jon to come home at any moment. It feels as though they woke me up every hour on the hour, and I had to reach out to them, to pet them, and to coo at them, and give my most convincing "Everything is okay." Around 4:00 I realized that I was going to lose this battle, and so I just started mumbling "Shut up" from under my pillow. I'm hoping they will let me sleep better tonight, although I'm half convinced that I'm tired enough to sleep right through it even if they keep up the shenanigans.

I've taken on a new project for while Jon is out of town. I decided it was time to take those 3 years worth of online journal entries from my teens off of the 10-year-old floppy disk they have been stored on. I've been so worried that the disk would be accidentally erased and everything I felt and thought during the time would be lost with it. And so one by one I am streamlining the design in a Word document, numbering the pages, creating headers, and printing them off. I looked into doing my own binding, but right now I'm going the easy route with a three-hole bunch and a few $4 binders from Walmart that resemble old leather books. Unfortunately the project has proven to be anything but easy, and it has been extremely time consuming. I'm finding that my 15-year-old self wasn't concerned with what my 25-year-old self would have to go through in order to do this. Most of the entries weren't even saved in a Word document but in HTML, which means white text on black backgrounds and strange page layouts that don't work well for copying and pasting into new documents. I'm also finding that I either didn't know about spell check or didn't care, because each newly pasted text comes with a rainbow of spelling and grammatical errors. I started editing and correcting the earlier entries from 1998, but soon realized that reading over every entry could take me months and I wanted to have this done in just a couple of days. My final plan isn't set in stone yet, but I dove in with grandiose plans and high expectations, so we'll see where it leads me.

While it may not have been the most interesting or disciplined writing, I was shocked to find just how much of it there was. At last count I had 114,145 words on 156 pages (I'm using a small font), and I haven't made it through an entire year. That's a lot of words for someone who doesn't speak up much.

I'm also learning through the little proofing that I have done that I haven't changed all that much. I'm still immature, confusing, and easily amused. I'm still fickle, self-conscious, and expect too much of myself. What has changed is my outlook on life. I no longer think I'm incapable of being married, because well, I am, and that it is possible to survive your teens because I'm still here. It's one of those If I Only Knew Then What I Know Now experiences that I have all too often anymore. I want to swaddle that poor girl writing all of those sad words and in the nicest, most heartfelt way, tell her to get over it, because life does not revolve around what your friends think of you--they'll be history in a few years anyway, and the world is not out to get you--it's all in your imagination. I couldn't sugarcoat it and say it would always be easy, or that she will always be happy, but the sun does come out again and she will be content. I am content.

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