Reflecting on Life: Why I Started a Journal
Yep, it’s true. I finally got around to starting a journal. After sinking into a pretty gnarly depressive episode after this summer in the van came to an end, I felt like I needed a way to get those memories out of my mind and put them somewhere more permanent. And I wanted to accomplish that task without flooding the blog with all of the hazy, stream-of-conscious-y, haphazard musings about the sound of snow falling in desert canyons and waking up naked in thick Texan heat, and odd little doodles of red rocks in the sunset.
I’ll spare y’all from that (for the most part).
I’ve only been journaling for a couple weeks now, but already it’s becoming something I look forward to every day, or at least most days. It grounds me. It helps my thoughts come and go in more rhythmic waves, and it gives me a chance to reflect without judgement. I tend to be kind of a perfectionist when it comes to writing – especially on the blog when it’s so public. But in my journal, nothing has to be organized. There can be little inky smudges; I can abandon a thought halfway through it if I don’t like where it’s going. I can write ten pages on an event that, in reality, took about five minutes. I can write a few sentences and sum up five years. I’m free to dwell on the things I love or the things that I want to dive deeper into, and I’m free to let loose the thoughts that don’t serve me. It’s been a great way to get to know myself again after a very transformative summer and to put my passion for writing into practice sans the pressure of perfection.
I’m hesitant to say that I’ll be journaling forever, even though I love it right now. I’ve started a journal a few times in the past only to grow frustrated or bored with it and give up in a pretty short amount of time. But for right now, I’m okay with not setting the intention to journal every day forever. I’m alright with just being happy with it for right now.
I think that’s what’s different about this latest attempt at journaling and, in a weird way, at life – I’m willing to put a tangible value on my short term happiness even if it doesn’t translate into a life-long habit. I’m learning to let myself do what feels good in the moment because right now is the only time I’m guaranteed to have.
Right now, journaling feels good. It’s helping me get back to some semblance of order and normalcy outside of depression.
And that’s more than enough for me.
Have you found a new hobby or activity that is helping you let loose or get to know yourself better? I’d love to hear what you’re up to in the comments.