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.