Amongst the bullet-journal, handwritten tracker-trend of the twenty-first century, there seems to be a recent spike in the daily feel good or positivity journals. Even as a writer, I've always found it near impossible to set aside the time to write for even just a little bit on a basis, so I never thought much of this daily-journal trend.
Then, for one of my high school graduation gifts, a favorite English teacher of mine from back in middle school gave me a five-year journal as a gift.
I didn't think too much of it, aside from it being a generous gift. I'd figured I would give it a try and be consistent with my journaling. It turned out to be a much easier routine to pick up than I thought it'd be, something I'd leave on my bedside table and fill out right before I went to sleep.
Because the journal covers the span of five years, each day only offers you four lines to write. Some days I was hardly filling the first line, and others I was too quickly running out of space.
The purpose of the journal itself wraps around the idea of gratitude, which is the only area of the journal I sort of went off-course with. While it encourages a writer to jot down something they are grateful for--something objectively positive--I found myself struggling sometimes to write something objectively happy.
So, instead of making something up, I was brutally honest, whether that honesty resulted in something positive or not.
Now, looking back at the things I wrote the summer before I started college, the time throughout my first year at college, the heartbreak I went through, the insecurity I felt when making new friends, the adjustment to a new job, and the strangeness of readjusting back into college and then back home again, I find myself left with a different kind of gratitude.
Even on the days where I couldn't find something positive to write down, it only took a day or two for my attitude to turn around and discover something new I was grateful for.
It's unrealistic to expect at least one positive thing to happen on a daily basis, especially if a person doesn't WANT to find something positive. Instead of feeling disappointed in myself for writing something not objectively positive, I found a level of self-gratitude from my ability to state that that particular day had been rough, and then move onto the next and the next until I found something positive again.
The pattern went on, and the book came with me to college, back home, on weekend trips, vacations, and anything that meant I'd need to write something down. It holds memories and thoughts, but most importantly, it holds pieces of myself that I now realize make a much bigger part of who I am than I thought when I first wrote them down.
And for me, knowing that everything I've discovered about myself and about my perspective is just a chunk of my five year journal makes it that much easier to pick up on the daily and jot something down, be it happy, sad, or all the places in between.