When I was in the seventh grade, I started my first journal. Of course, like most young girls in the 2000s, I had tried before, but it wasn’t until 2012 that I was finally successful in maintaining one for more than a week before getting bored and moving onto something else. In all honesty, I have no idea why this particular attempt was the one that went so well, but by the end of 2012 I had completed almost the entire book.
Looking back on it now, the entire thing is absolutely hilarious, particularly the sections about the awkward middle school boys I had found myself so fascinated by at the time, but in retrospect were pretty gross. As embarrassing and awkward as it is to have someone READ my most intimate twelve-year-old thoughts, I look at that journal as one of the purest samples of myself from any point in my life. I had no clue at the time that I was writing most of those entries that one day I would be reading them over on a weekend home from college, because I didn’t really find anything worth documenting at the time.
This is why I encourage everyone I know to start a journal, even if you only write in it twice a year, or type a few things in the note app on your phone, because things that seem so insignificant to us now could be treasured memories in the future.
In my current journal, I have been able to record the beginning of my sophomore year of college, and how so much has changed in the past few years, but still a few things are constant. I do not hold myself to a strict schedule of writing everyday, and at times have gone months without writing a single entry. However, I always come back to reflect on my day for a few moments. This time of reflection can also lead to clarity in tough situations. As much as I do not want to remember tough times, writing through it has become one of my strongest coping mechanisms. I have found that writing down what is bothering me forces me to think through it slowly, and eventually figure out a solution. Some people choose to keep journals specifically for times like this, when they need to process an overwhelming situation or track their feelings during periods of change, which is what makes journaling great, you can make a blank piece of paper anything you would like it to be.