“Dear Diary: today was the most horrible of my entire life…”
The reading of this entry was quickly followed by hysterical laughter from my sisters and I. We were sitting on the floor, surrounded by stacks of my older sister’s journals from middle school.
You can only imagine the amount of pure, dramatic gold that we managed to dig up. To say that my sister was a drama queen back then would be an understatement, and nearly every journal entry was a testament to that fact.
As we combed through the pages of her diaries, we laughed at the over-dramatized events of her life, “awed” at the childish scrawl, and smiled in nostalgia at all of the good memories. Mostly though, we just laughed.
All joking aside, this ended up being much more than just a trip down memory lane – it was a reminder of the good times, caused us to bond, and helped place our present struggles into context.
For example, every outraged entry that my sister wrote about the problems she was facing that particular day, were not necessarily over-exaggerated. Okay, maybe a little.
But to my sister, in the moment she penned those entries, her struggles were every bit as large and overwhelming as the ones she now faces as a 25-year-old. Granted, a middle school crush does not equate to remembering to do taxes, but you get the idea.
Once the laughter died down and we went our separate ways, I got to thinking about how valuable those journals really are. Besides giving us something to laugh about, they are a testament to how far my sister has come.
She may still have the same tendency to dramatize events but has since matured and gained so many life experiences.Those journals give her the opportunity to look back and appreciate some of the challenges she has faced – because they shaped her into the strong, independent woman that she is today.
Continuing on that line of thinking, journaling is really an amazing practice. It's like a sort of personal, historical account for your eyes only.
When you’re going through tough times, good times, or simply want a good laugh, looking back through old entries can help you gain perspective, cheer you up, and remind you of all the obstacles you've overcome.
In addition, writing down what you’re thinking and how you‘re feeling gives you an outlet to process those thoughts and feelings. It’s like a therapy session – except free of charge, and without the extra human interaction.
While you can speak without thinking, you can't write without thinking. Writing periodically in a journal gives you the opportunity to stop and really process how you're doing.
Additionally, there hundreds of little, precious moments every day, and it's so easy to forget them. Writing them down ensures that they don't get lost in the busyness of your day, and cheers you up later down the road.
Journaling helps you record those precious little moments of life, and gives you a chance to pause and really process things.
So the next time you’re stressed, angry, or simply want to document an amazing moment of your life, remember to grab your pen and start writing away. Who knows? Ten years down the road, you and your friends might be sitting on the floor reading your journals and having yourselves a very good, much deserved laugh!