I believe my personal journal gives peace to my past, brightness to my future, and allows me to experience a more meaningful life.
It was Christmas of 1968 when I received my very first journal. My family was moving back to Mesa, Arizona, after living five years in a small town with a population of about 200 residents. My journal became a listening ear that helped me transition smoothly from a small rural elementary school to a large junior high with several hundred students. I shared my fear on its first page as I nervously wrote, “January 1, 1969, Dear Diary, January 7 is when we go to Mesa. Whew, am I scared to go to school down there. I am glad I know some people in Mesa.” This entry was the beginning of a long and personal relationship with my journal who quickly became my trusted confidant.
I do not write every day, nor do I have a bookcase full of well-written journals or diaries. However, when I experience significant events in my life, I grab a pen and my journal.
The process of letting thoughts, whether they are exhilarating or traumatic, flow from my brain, down my arm, through my hand and out my pen, provides me with an intense sense of relief and satisfaction.
No longer does a tornado of words swirl around in my head creating havoc. Instead, they become meaningful sentences beautifully displayed on paper, exposed and in perfect order.
The act of writing down my thoughts increases my self-awareness. Answers to questions begin to unfold, while words of inspiration and encouragement mysteriously rise from the page. There are days I go back in time to reflect upon previous entries that note my strengths and successes in life. More than once, those pages helped me to remember who I am and what great things I am capable of.
It was January 1991 exactly 22 years from my very first journal entry and eight months after my husband died.
I anxiously wrote down my fears, “1990 is past, gone, forever. My life continues, I cannot go back, nor do I want to. Yet to go forward or backwards, would be painful. Will there not be a day when the pain will not be so agonizing?” Though filled with pain, my journal does include many splashes of joy, happiness, and triumphs. It is those splashes of positivity I turn to most often in order to reframe unpleasant experiences and find the hope and strength to continue on.
My journal is my best friend, my teacher, my spiritual advisor, and my therapist. The more I read and reflect upon its pages, the more meaningful my life becomes.