Why I Keep a Journal
When I was 4 years old I handed my mom a paper with rows scribbles on it and I asked her to tell me what it said. She looked at it and, as any good mom would, she made something up that she thought would be appropriate. I told her that’s not what it said and demanded that she try again, which she did. She failed again to correctly interpret my inner most thoughts. I made her try again.
My mother is a woman of supreme patience.
I began to keep to a journal as soon as I could write, somewhere half way through kindergarten. Writing in a journal became a cathartic experience, a way to make my way through the ups and downs of my day. For me, it was a place to be silly, a place to write down who I truly had a crush on, and a place to vent my anger at my older brother.
Experience with my older brother taught me it was best to hide your journal if you were going to get too personal.
Writing in a journal has allowed me to look back at my own personal growth; as well as, to remember struggles that I had and how I got through them. It reminded me of hilarious conversations and experiences that I otherwise would have forgotten. It’s also a great way to keep track of important events. My husband and I were once trying to remember when we went on our first date. Guess what? I looked it up in my journal and there it was along with the humorous story of why he was an hour late and how we almost got hit by a car crossing the street.
I periodically go back and read my journals. To be honest, most of it is pretty boring. The day to day activities of a child, teenager, young adult,…middle age adult are not all that exciting. It is a lot of getting ready for school and bickering with various people but then it happens. I come across a gem. A journal entry that will move me to tears. Tears of sorrow or, occasionally shame, but mostly they are tears of laughter. Seriously, my 8 year old self was crazy funny.
Looking back at my journals, I can see change. I can see who I once was and moments that were pivotal to who I have become. Its my own history. It also my children’s history. I love reading my journal entries to them that I wrote when I was their age. I can see the surprise in their eyes when they realize that mom really was 9 years old once. They laugh and make fun at my expense but then they go get their journals and start writing.
I don’t write in my journal everyday, even though there have been periods in my life where I did. When I had babies I was lucky to write once a month. As my children grew sometimes there were months when the only entries were to record the funny things my kids said. I aim for once a week to catch all the big and little events worth recording.
A journal is a place of encouragement in a time of frustration. A place that has record of the light at the end of the tunnel.