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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Record Your Progress

When I was a kid, lots of people had a special spot in the home--a door frame, usually, or a place in a corner--where they recorded the children's growth.

You would stand against the wall, as straight as you could, and Mom or Dad would mark your height on the wall, and write the date (and your initials, if there was more than one kid) next to the mark.

Over time, you could look back and see how far you had come.

(See where this is going?)

As adults, some people keep records of earnings; others of milestones (babies' births, weddings, funerals). But very few record the "state of the person."

I confess, I'm a terrible journal keeper. I start a blog, pause, abandon, start another. Nevertheless, I can go back and read those old blogs (soon to be gathered in one place on the net), and see where I've been.

And it looks like I'm making a bit of progress.

Some old blogs contain gripes about a girl who left; now I'm happily married. Others are about a period of instability in my life; now I'm like Gibraltar.

Of course, progress is hard to define. Lots of people get shorter as they grow older; that's a kind of progress, too. (I wonder if they make marks on the walls?)

Then there's the case of "self-correction." C.S. Lewis said that if you’re going the wrong way, going back to the right path can be counted as a kind of progress.

In any case, find a way to record your progress, one that's comfortable for you. Then, later, look back and see how far you've come.

You'll be happier.

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