Which is worse: life unlived or lived life undocumented?

Once I followed these people on Xanga who tried to take pictures of everything they did. If they went to dinner, they took pictures. If they watered their garden, they took pictures. They took pictures every morning and every day and every evening. Once, they lost a roll of film documenting their trip to a german restaurant and she was devastated.

For awhile, I thought… what a great idea, documenting everything through pictures. I attempted this, but a few days into it felt a little weird and creepy.

Yesterday (I think) I was talking to my friend Brandon, sharing with him where I am and what I’ve been doing. He said something like “I hope you’re keeping a journal of all of this!” To which I had to admit my epic fail. Blogging and journaling hasn’t been easy for me lately. This breaks my heart, because I am experiencing so much I hope to never forget, but am somehow relying on my brain to keep it all in.

My mom sent me a bunch of mail I’ve received in my time gone. No big deal…

mail from home.

Don’t get too excited, most of it came from banks. However, I did get three free Starbucks drinks (I have earned five so far this year.. ridiculous!!) my first letter from the family of the boy I sponsor through World Vision, and a letter from Gretchen. You’re probably thinking “hey, your book is in the picture!” True, but wrong. Gretchen also sent me that book.

My first thought? Since when do I have friends cool enough to send me books… with writing on the inside of the front cover? Well, since I met Gretchen. That’s when.

I, of course, have started reading the book. Because I love Donald Miller. This past summer I was reading Searching For God Knows What.. and I was loving it. I ran into my friend Marlis at the bookstore, who was looking to buy that book. So I gave it to her, even though I hadn’t finished it. Dangit. Books are things you let people borrow with no intention to get back. This is something I’ve come to accept, and finally invested in a “DO NOT EVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE LEND THIS BOOK TO ANYONE” copy of my favorite book, Walking on Water (by my beloved Madeleine L’Engle).

Part of the reason why I love Don Miller is because he’s local. Not to me now, but to home. He resides in Portland. When I read his books or blogs, I can recognize places. It makes him seem like an acquaintance more than a great writer I read. Also, true story. Once, I did Mocha Club for Matt Wertz at the Doug Fir. When I walked in, I saw Matt Wertz at a table upstairs, having dinner. In a strange moment, I thought “I should go say hello,” but something hesitated a little too long and I walked away before I started to feel creepy. The next day, when I read that sitting at the table with him was Donald Miller, I wanted to punch myself in the face repeatedly.

Also, my phone just alerted me of a text message. If someone was at Starbucks with me, I’d have looked at my phone and said nonchalantly, “oh, it’s just Donald Miller.” See, I follow him on Twitter. The kind of follow that goes straight to my phone. Because I know that one day when I am sitting at home, picking my nose, he is going to update his twitter and say “heading to Powell’s to _______” whatever. or maybe not Powell’s. Maybe it’s somewhere else. Nevertheless, he’s going to give away his location in enough time for me to get in my car and be there. Then I will casually say “Oh my gosh, you’re Donald Miller!” and act as if the whole thing was a huge coincidence. Once, when I was doing Mocha Club for the Ten out of Tenn tour I got a text from Donald Miller (via twitter, of course…) saying that if he was in Portland, he’d be at the Ten out of Tenn tour. But he wasn’t. Tease.

Back to his book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.

I am, oh, twenty or so pages into this book.

Before I got even halfway to where I am, I felt inspired. And convicted. People say that the worst thing is a life unlived, but what about a lived life undocumented?

What if I grow up to be really old and have some really great grandkids who are those special kind, who want to know stories about my life, and I sit in my rocking chair (oh yes, I so went there) and can’t think of anything except the time I saw Cuba Gooding, Jr run down the street in Spokane and they stare at me blankly and ask, “Who is Cuba Gooding, Jr?”

What if, and this is scary to me, I slowly forget all of the memories I’ve made?  I might as well have never gotten in my car and spend months living life with people in California. That time when I tried to sneak into John Mayer’s soundcheck in Kelowna means nothing if I forget it in twenty years. Or the time I met John Legend in an alley.

No more. I’m having the cake and licking the bowl. By the way, Laura let me eat cake batter with a spoon the other day. I went crazy. My mom might have been disappointed. I felt sick, but it was worth it.

My life will be lived to the fullest and documented as well. Holla!!!!!


6 thoughts on “Which is worse: life unlived or lived life undocumented?

  1. I love this blog post Steph. I am so glad that you are enjoying the book so far.. and being encouraged to write things down.

    Lately, my grandpa Bob has been insistent on penning life experiences. In fact he just sent a story to our family written about all our dogs. 🙂

    He also worked in corrections for years and just published a book called “The Quiet Service” about all his crazy adventures as a cop.

    Further, my grandma and him lived on a kibbutz in Israel for a year a 27 ago and he typed a letter (on an old type writer) to my cousin Nic back in the states every single day telling about everyday happenings in Israel. My aunt had them bound in a big fatty book. I am in the middle of reading them and it is incredible! I feel like I am meeting my younger grandparents and getting to know them in ways that I was never able to. I think he also has letters from thier travels in Europe, but I have not read them yet.

    So yeah Steph, write things down! Your kids and grandkids will love it someday. I will too. 🙂

  2. Like.

    Yes. I just liked this and it’s not facebook. Sorry I’m not sorry? Ha.

    I also loaned someone a Donald Miller book (Through Painted Deserts) and never got it back. Note to self. Don’t loan Donald Miller books.

  3. Love that book. Love that book! Love. That. Book! When you finally come home, we should go to Jim and Patty’s and talk about it. And the million other things that I’ve been saving up to tell you. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Tweets that mention Which is worse: life unlived or lived life undocumented? « just a little bit louder. -- Topsy.com

  5. Pingback: february 27th, 2012 – brandon, donald and bob. oh my. | justalittlebitlouder

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