Aiden Fisher

My first journal’s cover is wrapped in pink fluff. I’m still embarrassed of this fact, but for many years growing up, pink was undeniably my ride-or-die. I had pink walls and pink bathroom counters. I even demanded we paint my great grandmother’s beautiful, antique wood dresser pink from top to bottom. Begrudgingly, I compromised on painting it white with pink trim.I filled my furry, pink journal with scribbles that are mostly indiscernible. I wrote my name over and over again, trying out cursive and bubble letters. I wrote in very frank terms how our home, Florida, was “too sweaty” and how dogs “have scary mouths.” But I also recorded my milestones: finishing first grade, making new friends in second, and losing those friends in third. Things started to get tough, although on the upside, I was getting better and better at articulating those feelings. It’s still a little hard to read my entries from fourth and fifth grade.For my twelfth birthday, I received the saving grace of my middle school years: a pastel purple journal sealed by a tiny silver key. Then, I started writing music, and my one journal expanded to three notebooks filled with poetry and chords. High school felt centuries long. I was broken up with and starred in musicals; I read Saturday for the first time, discovering my favorite author, Ian McEwan. All of this is documented in pages and pages of my own handwriting, archived away for nights spent reminiscing about adolescence.

But I want to stand still in the summer of 2016. I often go back and look through my college writings to find these very two months. Working at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, I was desperately homesick, trying to make the best of what should have been the greatest experience of my life. Instead, I missed my mom and warm summer breezes. I wrote this:

stone city lit by pale light
until far too late
but silent much too early
closes echo from clipped
footsteps plodding along
with mere ferocity
sparkling rain gathers
around the garbage left
alongside cobbled stones
nine at night as quiet
as three in the morning
i’ve never felt more ease
and loneliness in one place

Every time I return to my scrawled pencil-markings, I remember this moment, sitting on the upper deck of a bus. On the way to the university library from my flat, it poured cold rain, and I had left my umbrella in some easily overlooked place. And I feel the damp bus seat and see the rain pattering against the bus windows. I remember the ease of the city, and the sting of loneliness.

Life-writing is more than just recording a memory. It is capturing a moment so distinctly that you remember the you that sat on that bus. And while I have been life-writing my whole life, I am truly just getting started. Wherever you are in your life, you are ready to reflect on your legacy. You’ll thank yourself later.