Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Why I Keep a Journal

I received my first journal when I was 8. My grandmother gave it to me when I was baptized with a letter in the front that told me how happy and proud she was of her first grandchild. I took that first journal and loved it. Maybe too much love. Looking at it now, the pages are coming out of the binding, the pages are bleeding through, and the writing is both entertaining and embarrassing. That first journal was only the beginning. Since then, I have filled several. Add into that my spiritual journals filled with promptings and thoughts from my personal study and I have a whole box full.

So why do I continue? I can't seem to stop. Even when I am blogging regularly I still manage to write things down in a book. Here are some of the reasons why I believe in keeping a journal.

Organization of Thoughts
Nothing helps me settle my thoughts and feelings like writing them out. There have been many times when I have not been able to articulate what I think or feel, but when I write it out I am forced to. Sometimes when I have a lot to write I will do it in bullets, but usually I try to write it out in paragraph form. This helps me work through thoughts in a way that makes logical sense. Once I figure it out I can apply that knowledge and move forward.

Personal Reflection and Strength
While there is a certain amount of overlap between this blog and my written journal, my journal is much more personal in nature. My innermost thoughts and feelings get written out. Once I have gotten all my thoughts and feelings out I am able to come to grips with how I feel. There have been many times when I feel more settled after writing it out, even if those feelings are not exactly positive. At later times, I am able to look back on the trials and hard times I have had and the ways I was able to handle the situation and come to peace, I get more strength and know I can do it again. To me there is no better encouragement than seeing my own record of growth and 

Keeping Record for the Future
I love hearing stories of my family and friends. Learning stories about my grandparents and great-grandparents are the best. Learning these stories helps me feel a connection to them. Like how I am named after a great-grandmother who was full of fire and sass, who had the same "mama bear" instinct to fight for her family and friends and testimony of the gospel that I hope to emulate some day. In one of my history classes I spent hours pouring over 40 years worth of diary entries written by a previous Senator. I was completely fascinated and loved learning about this man and his family and friends through his eyes. Then one day I realized that I owed just as much enthusiasm to my own family and ancestors. It didn't make sense for me to know intimate details of a stranger's life, but not my own family. Keeping a true record, full of personal thoughts, testimony, trials, beliefs, and events is what leads to true historical knowledge, not the polished internet lives we tend to put forward.

So what do you think? Is keeping a journal going away with the pervasive nature of social media, or is it a tradition worth continuing? How do you keep track of your personal memories?

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