The Old and the New

by Nancy Casey

Sometimes it feels like nothing ever changes. Other times things feel so chaotic, it seems like nothing stays the same. The truth about life and living, of course, lies somewhere between these two extremes. Whether it’s easy to see that or not.

Today’s exercise will give you a chance to notice parts of your life that lie on both ends of that spectrum, which helps you see that change and stability are always operating at the same time.

Begin by setting up your page.  Draw a line at the top where you will write your title when you have filled up the rest of the page. If you are going to set aside a box or a blob to fill with illustration, put it in the middle somewhere. Then draw a line, straight or squiggled, that will divide the writing space in two relatively equal parts. Label one side of the page “Old” and the other side “New.”

As you do the setup, relax your mind and try to notice what’s old and what’s new in your life. You can think about things—the objects around you and your various possessions, like dishes, clothing, electronics, and furniture. You can also think about where you keep your things or how and when you use them.

Locations can be old or new to you—your home, your workplace, your favorite or un-favorite places to go. The appearance or disappearance of people in your life can be old or new.

Many intangible things can be old and new as well. Your beliefs. Your attitude. What you do and don’t understand.

On the “old” side of the page, write down what’s old in your life. Say what it is, make a comment or two about it and move on to another one. Do the same for the “new” side of the page. You can fill one whole side of the page and then the other. Or you can skip back and forth by letting various objects and aspects of your life float into your mind and then asking yourself, “Is this old or is this new?”

You can pause anytime during your writing to draw or doodle. Sometimes that helps ideas come to mind. If you prefer you can do all of the drawing at the beginning, or the end. Or you can skip the drawing altogether.

Allow you page to come together however it will. When it is full, take a break and look over everything that you have done. When a title pops into your mind, write it on the line at the top of the page. Put the date and a signature somewhere on the page, too.

Here is an example of what someone could write.

You can share your work by posting it as a comment below. You can type it in, or take a photo of it and upload the image.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. If you would like some help with your writing, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center. In-person Write-for You classes have been suspended for now, but when Covid recedes, they will return.

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