I am the youngest of three children, and that means that I was always looking up to the members of my family. One action that always stood out to me when I was younger was my sister's habit of journaling. Whenever I would peak in her room late at night, I would see her scribbling away in her notebook. Not only was I very curious about what she was writing about, but I was even more curious about why she was writing.
Journaling has many benefits. Some of which are provided by Valerie S. in her article 6 Benefits of Keeping a Journal for Your Personal Development and Mental Health. Two of my favorite benefits she wrote about were reviewing your achievements and setting new ambitious goals, and preserving your ideas. In her achievement and goals section, she expresses the importance of understanding where you currently are, what resources you currently have, and how to use those to your advantage in order to achieve current and future goals. If you have a clear understanding of your present life and what goals are possible to achieve within those parameters, it makes your version of goal success more realistic and attainable. She then goes onto her preserving your ideas section, which is exactly what it sounds like. You can't remember the goals that you had as a child, the crushes that had you dreaming in class, or the inner struggles you were facing in middle school as vividly if you didn't have a direct journal entry from that time in your life.
My biggest downfall when it came to journaling was sticking to it. I would be faithful to my nightly journal sessions for about three days, only to find it boring and uneventful. I would only pick up journaling again when something big or life-changing happened. You know, like when that boy FINALLY liked you back, or when that teacher was SO RUDE. I started to use my journal as a way of ranting, which I now realize was extremely therapeutic for myself as a developing young woman because it gave me space to fully express myself without the fear of being scolded. It became my safe space.
I knew journaling made me feel good, but I still didn't really see why my thoughts and feelings mattered enough to write them down. Then one day in 8th grade I realized why journaling was important. I had just moved, and as I was unpacking a box when I came upon one of my old journals. I picked it up, started reading, and I was shocked by the reaction. I found myself clenching my stomach and cry-laughing at my youthful view of the world, getting choked up while reading about my struggles in school and with friends, and I found myself in a state of gratitude for my past self giving me this gift of reflection.
At that moment, I understood why I was journaling. I wasn't journaling just because it made me feel good or because my future kids would read it, I was writing it for my future self to see my development as a child, young woman, adult, and eventual elder. I was writing my story as it happened.
This completely changed that way I approached my journaling and altered the way I reflected on my current life. I found myself feeling more grateful for life's challenges, trials, victories, and moments of utter bliss. I realized that life is an ever-changing experience and that I needed to live my life more presently. Because before we know it, where we are right at this very moment, will be lost... Unless we preserve and save those precious memories within the pages of diaries.