Each night, I take fifteen to twenty minutes to write in my journal, and each night I never expect to be able to write as much as I do. Whenever I open my journal, I expect a couple of sentences summarizing my day, not a whole new life lesson.
This week, my journal taught me some particularly interesting things about myself and some life lessons I had let slip my mind recently.
When life gets hard, it’s often hard to remember what we did last time to get out of our slumps. For me, it’s taken nearly two months of college to remember what my daily routines used to be. This past week I wrote in my journal, “I feel sore from walking hardly anything, I miss when I was strong from going to the gym,” and that’s when it hit me. The thing that used to get me out of slumps was working out. Since writing that down, I’ve been able to get into the gym, and I can already see improvement in terms of mental health. Obviously the gym is not for everyone, but discovering what makes you happy even during a slump is so important. I have my journal to remind me of what makes me happy.
Another thing I learned from my journal this week was to take a step back sometimes. I’ve been putting in so much effort to form connections with people that I’ve hardly taken any time for myself lately. For the first time since the beginning of college, I allowed myself to cancel plans. Instead of going out, I went to bed early and got 11 hours of sleep for probably the first time in months. I hadn’t realized how much time I was putting into others until I decided to flip through my journal and reflect on my week as a whole. I realized that I had done something for someone else every single day of the week, yet I hadn’t done anything for myself. Taking this time to myself helped me reset my mind and be better prepared for the next time I went out with friends. I realized I was noticeably less tired and happier when taking a bit of time for myself. I wouldn’t have noticed this without the reflection I do by writing in my journal.
Probably the most difficult lesson that arose from my journal was this: If people want to walk out of your life, let them — they probably weren’t a very good addition to your life anyway. If someone can turn around and leave completely quickly, they probably didn’t care for you very much. It was definitely hard to watch myself write those words down on paper because it made me realize that the only people we truly have are ourselves. As hard as that is to admit, it’s helpful in making us realize that it’s not our fault when someone leaves. Some people leave, but that’s okay because when you know how to be happy with yourself, the absence of other people does not have as much of an effect on you.
Overall, writing in my journal has led me to a lot of self-discovery and rediscovery. Without my journal, my brain would be a much more muddled space, and being able to get all my thoughts on paper really helps.