Confessions of a Horrible Journaler (If that is even a word)
I love history. I love to read about historical figures and see what they endured. I love to read historical figure’s journals about their personal experiences. The journal is literally a window into a different time and a different place. I am currently reading a book about the establishment of the United States. In this book the writer has collected journal entries from Lewis and Clark from their expedition across the United States. The entries are fascinating about what they endured.
With all that being said…I am a TERRIBLE journaler (if that is even a word). I am trying to get better because I am fascinated to read some of my older journals from 20 years ago and see what an 18 year old Jeff Dowdy thought of the world and of life. Sure, some days are flat out boring, but other days are fascinating. I have learned not to pressure myself to journal every day. I have also made it more a repeat of the days events, what my thoughts are (both good and bad), and questions for me to solve for the future. I am already seeing the fruits of this practice in keeping the most pressing questions in the forefront of my mind and seeing changes in just 2-3 weeks.
I encourage you to journal. I know there are fancy ways to journal these days via computers and smart phones. I encourage you to handwrite yours. I have HORRIBLE handwriting as any of my elementary school teachers will attest to. I still handwrite these journal entries because maybe one day my children, grandchildren, or great grandchildren will want to read what was going on in 2014 in Old Man Dowdy’s life. My grandmother gave me some items that had my grandfather’s handwriting on them. One of them was a check he wrote to pay for something. The item wasn’t as important as somehow I was able to touch something that he touched. It means a great deal to me because he wrote it.
Lastly, if you, like me, have long-term gaps in your journals, pick it up today and begin again. Don’t put pressure on yourself to make it a certain length or always have to be astounding stuff. Make it simple. What are you currently thinking of? What relationships are good? Which ones are bad? What trials are you going through? What joys? I think your descendants will find your journal one day and truly have a treasure.
P.S. for all of you that have been journaling for years and have volumes of journals, cheers to you. Hopefully you can encourage a slacker like me to journal.