Our memories define us. They are, truly, what make us who we are. The present is so fleeting that without our memories we wouldn’t have a life, a character, a sense of being.
We are constantly changing. Every day we experience new situations and people, and each of those experiences continue to shape our characters. With journaling, you have the ability to document your life. You are ensuring that the experiences that you have will live forever, both in you and in your journal. They give you a chance to look back and see who you were a year ago, six years ago, or a month ago.
Using a journal to record whatever it is your experiencing is giving yourself a great gift. Over time, our memories can change. We begin to remember more how we felt on a day rather than what caused us to feel that way. We can forget the order in which things happen. We can slide people into our memory while others slip out. Journaling gives us the chance to keep our memories whole, both in the sense that writing something down almost always helps you to remember it better and that you can go back and read it weeks, months, or years later to remember.
Our adult lives have gotten so busy and multi-faceted that taking twenty minutes to write about an experience that happened is becoming less and less important. Rather, we’re posting it on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Don’t get us wrong; we love all of these social media platforms and use them personally and professionally. However, while the ability to document our lives on FB, Instagram, or Twitter is pretty awesome, ask yourself how honest you are in those posts. How many different pictures did you take before selecting the “perfect” one? How many times to did you edit your FB post, or rephrase those 140 characters? The thing with social media is that we are putting it out there for the consumption of other people, and our true experiences can get lost in the image we are creating for ourselves. That doesn’t make those posts and pictures any less true; however, they become an altered truth, one that can develop into something different than who you are on the other side of the screen.
We encourage you to begin, if you haven’t already, documenting your day with pen and paper, for your eyes only. It’s as simple as grabbing an 88 cent spiral bound notebook the next time you see one. You can go a step further and begin to print out all of those beautiful pictures you take and keep them in an album or hang them on the wall.
If you’re like us and have more than one journal going, you’ll find that no matter if you’re writing about your fitness or your garden, whether you’re writing your morning pages or filling out your calendar journal, each of these have room for you to talk about your experiences. Each of these give you the opportunity to document your life in the truest way. You’ll find yourself remembering what happened last week much more easily, and you’ll have a resource to go back and remember what you were like when you were 21, 25, 30, 36, 40, 48, 55, or 62.
Our memories define us. Write about them, so you remember who you are.