My “One Line a Day” journal. (Chandler Lasch / Col­legian)

When I flip through the journal I started a year-and-a-half ago, I like looking for details that I wanted to remember at the time I was writing: the honey lavender latte I had on my first trip to Rough Draft, the beau­tiful sunset on July 19, the colors of the roses my boyfriend sent me on my 22nd birthday (pink, red, yellow, and white). These are pecu­liar­ities I would have oth­erwise for­gotten that give indi­vidual sig­nif­i­cance to every day.

I write in my journal almost every night, and when I skip a day, I always go back and write about it soon afterward. It’s a habit that my mom/homeschool teacher used to require I follow (though I got increas­ingly incon­sistent as I got older), and one that I had to redis­cover for myself while in college. Daily jour­naling can benefit anyone, and it’s a habit you’ll never regret.

My “One Line a Day” journal is orga­nized with room for five years’ worth of short entries on a single page. One day, I’ll be able to see what I wrote on, say, Feb­ruary 22, 2017, ‘18, ‘19, ‘20, and ‘21 all at once. Some­times, that means reflecting back on yes­teryear with a pang of joy or sorrow. Some­times both. I’ve noticed that the same stresses tend to surface around the same time every year, but then, so do the same happy tra­di­tions.

When I gave another copy of this journal to a friend, she remarked that it was odd to think about where she would be four years in the future. Her boyfriend nudged her shoulder and asked, “Married?” That remains to be seen, but she’s right. It is odd, and it’s bit­ter­sweet to ponder. I have no idea where I’ll be when I write that last entry on August 30, 2021, but at least I’ll have five years of mem­ories in my hand.

I like having easy access to these mem­ories, but I also appre­ciate the catharsis that comes with writing down my thoughts. Some­times writing about some­thing that seems all-con­suming can lessen its weight in my mind. Espe­cially when I con­dense my entries to a para­graph, I find that sim­pli­fying and artic­u­lating my thoughts can help me determine what I can do to be better. It’s clearer to see that, for instance, a lack of sleep makes me feel over­whelmed, and times with friends and live music help me relax.

Even jour­naling for a couple minutes a day can help you remember and reflect on the things that matter the most to you. It’s an easy habit to start, and if you ded­icate yourself to it, I think you’ll find it a com­forting addition to your daily routine.