Ever since I was six years old, I've kept a journal. My first journal was a big Barbie notebook with a little lock and key. I still have the key tucked away in my old box of childhood belongings.
I don't really know why I started journaling. Maybe it's because I used to read books about keeping a diary, or maybe it's because I've always had a lot to say and a lot to think about. But ever since I learned how to write, I've kept a record of everything going on in my life.
I started my second journal when I was twelve years old. It's a big, purple-and-orange notebook with two bookmarks attached. I've had it ever since, and I'm coming to the very last pages. It's covered in water stains and has little mementos taped on the inside covers. After eight years of writing in one book, I'm coming to a literal end of a chapter in my life.
Keeping a journal has been a huge part of growing up for me. It's fascinating watching my handwriting transform, and my writing mature. My journal has been a place where I record everything important, exciting, painful or difficult. From the illness and eventual death of my grandfather, from falling in love multiple times to breaking hearts and having my heart broken, through middle school, high school and half of college, I've been able to keep a record of all my thoughts and surroundings. All my hopes, dreams, fears, tears and thoughts from the last eight years are in one little notebook.
Reading old entries is one of my favorite parts of journaling. Journals are the closest thing to time capsules in my opinion. Reading entries from years ago really shows how much I change and grow throughout the years. It's also a great way to remember other people and old feelings. Before my grandfather died, I wrote as much about him as I could think of. I wrote all the things I knew I wanted to remember about him so I would never completely forget.
I did this every time I wanted to remember someone or something good. In one of my entries, I wrote: "When you love someone, write about them as much as you, because once they're gone all you have left is that." And journals are a great way to remember old people who are gone, and the older version of yourself who is gone.
Whenever people asked, "If you could save one thing in a fire, what would it be?" I always said I'd save my journal. I'm very attached to it, as I feel it's a little piece of who I am. I'm even a little sentimental about finishing my eight-year journal and starting a new one. I would advice everyone to start journaling whether they're very young or very old. It's a great way to preserve memories and to work through feelings and emotions. And it's the best way to exercise writing and creativity. It's the best place to do whatever you want because it's the only place that completely your own.