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📓 Letter 101: Why I can't live without my journal

5 min

Being robbed, Manoa falls, My Now Page, Curation progress, Composting, Journal vs. Story

If you are new here or missed last week's edition, you can catch up on the past letters here. If you are reading this for the first time, I’d love you to sign up below to join the other learn-it-alls:

Aloha fellow learn-it-all,

Greetings from Diamond Head, O’ahu 🌺

Woohoo I had the pleasure of racing on a Beneteau 40.7 sailboat. It is such a graceful French racer and cruiser boat. Sailing takes the edge right off.

The crew communicated so well especially when we spotted whales while rounding the buoy. It reminded me of what it was sailing with my dad, brother and close friends. It really takes the edge off at the end of the week. I absolutely love mentoring Write of Passage because it makes my days feel so much fuller, and it really makes me appreciate being offline and the weekends and collecting more stories from life.  .

As I mentioned last week in my 100th letter, I’m still working to curating my best newsletters. Since I've got all these structured categories, I've been curating what I've curated. Yes you read that right, very meta, I know.

Reviewing past letters, has been like falling upon treasure in a long lost trove of my favorite ides. It's such a beautiful process. I want it to become a public facing notebook similar to David Perell's here. I can't tell you when exactly I'll have it all done, but I can tell you what a joyous process it is to time hop to my past self when I first discovered these ideas. It's like falling in love again. Thank you past Jen. I appreciate you.

Last update: I added a Now page to my website around my projects, what I'm reading, listening to, exploring, and experimenting. If you want to check it out here.

Now, let’s dive into letter 101 from a learn-it-all. Enjoy!

❓ Question to think about

Why can’t I live without a journal?

🖊 Writing

We were robbed! The beach bum left us digging in the sand with no beach bag to be found.

Without flinching an eye, my roommate Emily and I speed walked home. Soaking wet, barefoot, exhausted, dehydrated and famished in a train formation, like the Bullet, we head down Kalakaua Avenue in downtown Waikiki to our apartment. We needed to drop our boards off from the full moon three hour surf session.

I rushed to see if Emily’s phone would still appear on the ‘Find my Friends’ or whether the robber had turned it off. Thank goodness for that app. There was still a signal. We worried it wasn’t for long though. We gulped some water, put on dry clothes and hopped onto my red moped Ciao. I’ve never accelerated so fast. Emily was leaving on a flight in a few hours to go to a wedding in Louisiana. She needed her wallet and phone back desperately.

After we spied the thief leaving to go into the ocean, we hurriedly rescued everything seemingly important– her phone and wallet. My flip flops or ‘slippahs’ as Hawaiians call them, but most importantly, Emily lost her journal.

I was willing to go back for it. She didn’t mind and thought the bum might get some entertainment from her life problems. I was so sad for her though. A journal feels priceless to me like a special treasure.

I was so distraught that she lost her journal. So I did what I do after any tragic event. I journaled about it.

We take time to check how we look in the mirror in the morning and to brush our teeth at night, but do we take the time to check with our minds and hearts?

🔎 Words to define

Journal: a day's journey; that which has occurred in a day; a day's work or travel.

Story: A narration or recital of that which has occurred; a description of past events; a history; a statement; a record.

Analysis: These words have fairly similar definitions according to Webster’s 1913 dictionary. Perhaps a journal is a place to log all my stories. But can’t I also share the story of where my journal has been? There is some nuance here. This predicament reminds me of a lesson from my high school geometry class with my teacher who looked like Mr. Tumnas from Narnia: a square will always be a rectangle but a rectangle is not always a square.

We as humans were made to be storytellers, so I believe that means we were all meant to have a practice around that. For me, that is journaling.

🌟 Quote to inspire

“I think it’s really important for a writer to have a compost heap. Everything you read, things that you write, things that you listen to, people you encounter — they can all go on the compost heap, and they will rot down, and out of them grow beautiful stories.

– Neil Gaiman

Note to self: Keep the compost coming. It will create something glorious eventually. All I need is faith and consistency.

📷 Photo of the Week

I went on my first hike of 2022 back on island. The others that I've been on were my snowy walks in the woods in Petoskey, Michigan and Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California.

It was to Manoa Falls. This is a hike in the valley outside of Honolulu. I was expecting rain and was pleasantly surprised without any. Fun fact: Barack Obama grew up in Manoa.

Honestly, one of my favorite parts of this hike was the people watching. I saw influencers in heels, a diva neon pink sun glassed toddler on his dad's back sipping a juice box, and a cameraman with way too much equipment strapped on his body to see an empty waterfall.

It's a little deceiving that this is called a 'hike' while it is a gravel pathed most of the way.

No regrets because of that bodacious tree in the picture I stumbled upon off the main path. The root system is absolutely decadent. It makes me think about my own roots and which ones I’m willing to share above ground versus which ones I’ll keep to myself.

🙏 Shoutouts

I appreciate you reading this! If ideas resonated or you have feedback to improve my future letters, I’d love you to leave a comment, reply to this email, or send me a message on Twitter @JenVermet. If you want to learn more about who I am, I welcome you to visit my online home. If you want to know what I'm up to right now, check my now page.

Never stop learning 😁

Mahalo 🌺


👣 Footnotes

On finding magic in everyday mundane life:

On my newfound love for corn after discovering it on island:

On how we are similar to trees:

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