Three years ago today, at this precise moment, I was almost in Chicago. I was there for work yet again, but I had taken some days off beforehand, so that I could have a gander and enjoy the magnificent city, its blue sky, the iced lake, the very brisk -20C or thereabouts and the generous sales. I had only just started this online diary and I certainly regret that in its first few weeks, I was not that forthcoming in updating it. I could have written so much during my days in Chicago, but I was wrapped up in work and in the PhD and I had not yet discovered the immense value of recording one’s life, even the plain, the mundane, the painful.
So much has happened over these past three years that I cannot quite believe I really am talking of three years. On second thoughts, it’s not what has happened that strikes me as incredible but rather what has changed. I still live in the same house and wear the same clothes (more or less… but it so just happens that today I was out in exactly the same knitted dress and puffa coat and long boots I wore in Chicago on this day), but I am a different person. I don’t think anyone who knows me can quite tell the difference, but I can, in that subtle way in which we look the same in the mirror every morning but pictures from weeks before look immensely different to ourselves.
The most remarkable change is one that has nothing to do with the way I look or feel though. I am different because I’ve learnt about the importance of keeping track of my everyday doings. I have a paper diary, as usual, this site and another site as well, and now that there are so many applications for the iPhone, it’s remarkably easy to keep track of every single little thing that catches my eye. So I am a little despondent about my last trip to Chicago, when I was so sparse in the cataloguing side of things, but as my key word for 2011 is FORWARD then that’s what I should focus on. And next time I am in Chicago, I won’t skimp on recording everything.