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Keep a journal, you'll be glad you did

By By Lindsey Sherrill Staff writer
It's amazing how time flies, isn't it? I was thinking a few days ago about writing my "Happy New Year" column last year. It seems forever ago! I also saw a list of all the things that happened this year. Do you realize that we have been in Iraq since March? Or that the Columbia crashed this year?
They say as you get older time goes by more quickly, and I think I'm beginning to understand. Now, I'm still a long shot from old, or even older for that matter, but every year just goes by more quickly. Yet, at the same time, every year keeps getting better. Time flies when you're having fun!
Last year for Christmas I received a beautiful, bound diary from a friend.
It was bound in black cloth, with a Van Gogh painting of a Parisian sidewalk cafe on the cover. The pages were of creamy, thick paper, with thin, delicate black lines. It smelled slightly of fresh ink and expensive paper, my friend's perfume, and the shop where it was purchased. Inside it she had written, "Just something for you in case you need someone to talk to or want to remember things." As my New Year's resolution last year, I decided to write something everyday, even if it was just a line. And I did.
I'm so glad I did.
What a year this has been! I think I knew it would be when I decided to write. This year, maybe more so than any other up to this point in my life, has been a year of complete change. I have graduated, worked a full-time job, moved away from home, begun college, made new friends and begun a new life. I've grown, I've changed. I've done things that make me incredibly proud; I've also done a few things I'm not so proud of. I've met new people and said goodbye to others. I've left my tiny hometown and found another, even tinier, and just as homey.
I love to read back over that diary and look at the things I wrote this year. I wonder sometimes, looking back to last January or March or even August if that's the same girl. I can look back and see what I've done wrong and what I've done right. I can see where I've been, and, if I look a little deeper, where I'm going.
It's been hard to keep up at times. There are quite a few days when I had to update a day later. But I've done it. There's an entry for every single day this year. Some are short (March 1-Still sick. Blah.). Others go on for pages at a time. Some are just a quote (There is a fine line between genius and insanity.) Some ramble, some rant, most are random. But somehow, somewhere in the pages of that little book is my life.
I'm sure that this next year will be another year of changes, not only for myself, but for all of you as well. Hopefully, they will be good changes, changes that you will look back upon next December and smile about. I hope that at the end of next year I can write to all of you again and tell you about how 2004 has been good to me. I hope that at the end of next year we can all say, 2004 was a good year, just like I'm saying now, 2003 was a good year.
Now, as 2004 approaches, I'm looking for a new book. I know what I want.
No cheap notebooks. No frilly, childish books. No, I want a thick, beautiful book. Bound, with a real spine, with creamy, perfectly lined pages and a ribbon marker. I want a book that's worthy of what's going into it. Worthy, that is, to hold a year of my life.
Lindsey Sherrill is Miss Atmore and works for the Advance on her college breaks.