I have kept a journal off and on since I was a teenager. I would write in it at first to put my feelings, thoughts and dreams down on paper – and then to look back at one month increments and when I had reached a year or more, then I would look back by year too. It made me feel like I could go back to a certain situation in time and then see how I reacted and came through it. I found it therapeutic.
I wasn’t as loyal through my early adult life with this – it was like my creative juices were not needed, or perhaps didn’t feel a need for an outlet until I became pregnant with Ashlee in 1986. I kept a journal then to help me with diet and show progress with the pregnancy – to register names we likes and used it as a way to track gifts given to me at baby showers. I kept this journal until she was several months old – then got too busy to be bothered.
I started again when I was pregnant with Shawn – though not as seriously. Every few months and then years I would post an entry while the kids were growing up. It was so great to look back at my last entry and see the progress of our family – the dream to own our own home before we did – and the dream to go on a cruise (which we did) for our 20th anniversary.
When I became better online than keeping a hard copy journal – I began using “Word” on my computer to keep track of events, feelings, dreams and other things going on in our lives. While praying for the right guy for Ashlee I began a journey with my walks and prayer life – and typed away on my online journal – keeping many things personal to me there about each guy who came into our family, while dating our daughter.
When Drew entered our lives, I was in full swing so I was able to journal about his arrival on the scene and everything since we had first met him. I even wrote a letter to be given to my future son-in-law someday – back before I was doing my journal on the computer – I printed it out and kept it in an envelope in my office drawer for about 2 years.
Last night I took a look at the journal saved on my computer that had its last entry over a year ago. I have kept it for 5 years. I look back to see where I’ve come from – what was going on with me and the family back then – what hopes, dreams and situations were going on at the time and see where I am today. And while I still believe it is great to take a peak back where we’ve come from – I also know we can’t stay and dwell there – but must keep looking forward. I was reminded of this last night when reading about a painful situation and I did not like the way it made me feel. The problem with writing about pain, hurt and sadness – is that it is always there in black and white and there is something permanent about it.
I blog because it is my way of expressing myself through writing. I blog because it is interactive with others who are writers like me – and find the daily encouragement and comments from others to be therapeutic far beyond private ‘journalling’ used to be.
So this has been my journey with keeping a journal – and I prefer to use those thoughts and feelings to help and encourage others just like me – in a blog. This is my way to turn things around and keep my focus “outward” and “positive” – constantly moving and becoming…instead of looking back and being “inward” and becoming “negative”.
What is your experience with keeping a journal? Do you still keep one? Have you found that your blog site takes the place of keeping a personal one?