After quitting my job in November and knowing I would have a break before I went back to work, I thought I could use my time to reevaluate my life. Basically I was looking to “find myself”, whatever that means. I sort of lost my way for a while but then one day I reread some of my old journals to see where I’d been. What I found was horrific. I mean really terrible. Before I even got through the first few entries, I was upset and angry all over again.
I realized I had only been writing in my journals when I was overwhelmed with emotions, like anger or sadness. Essentially if I died today and someone read my journals, they would probably rule my death a suicide. When I was happy, I was too busy to write. So I decided to journal everyday, no matter how painful or difficult or how busy I got. What I have discovered is absolutely amazing. I have learned more about myself in the last two weeks than I had in two months.
Since I obviously didn’t journal well before, I Googled ‘how to journal’. Silly? I know. But there are some pretty good tips out there, all valid. Get a nice journal, good pen, safe place to write, time yourself, use prompts, etc. That’s all fine and dandy but this is my advice: just start writing and do it often. No one else is going to read it, provided you keep it safe and don’t leave it out for others to find, so feel free to write crap. Write terrible things. Write depressing things. Write angry things. But write the wonderful things too, and the weird things, and the unsure things. Write it all! Don’t censor yourself. Don’t let your pen stop; let your mind wander. Get off on that tangent. Chase that rabbit until you find Wonderland. Just get it all down on paper, so you can see it.
The benefits are astounding. For me it’s discovering myself and keeping me grounded. Returning to my journal-my safe place-helps me slow down and take my life one day at a time. I am the Captain of my life, my journal-my first mate, and my days-the uncharted territory. Cheesy, I know, but the only way to discover anything new is to keep moving through uncharted territory. So no matter how hard it is to write the truth, do it. Just start writing, you won’t regret it.