I Journal Because If I Don't Tell My Own Story, Who Will?

I started journaling around the time I started reading memoirs because when you read memoirs, you realize how valuable chronology and characters are to a story. And when you read memoirs, you realize how little of your story you actually know. And it's your story. If you don't remember it, you relinquish your control over it. And when you do that, it's not really your story anymore, is it?

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I don't think I'll ever write a memoir, but knowing my story is important to me. So I started journaling. 

For a lot of my generation, our diaries are public. They're on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter, and I think that's good enough. It's a record of where we were at a point in time, and whether that exists online in 140 characters or in camera rolls or longhand in a leather Moleskin doesn't matter. It just matters that it exists.

Mostly, though, my journal is a sketchbook. It has lists and drawings and dreams and ticket stubs and race bibs and anger and love. It's alive. I love it. I don't add to it every day, and for me, that's okay.

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You'll see articles and experts trying to convince you that journaling regularly is something every person must do, but I'm not sure that's true. I think it depends on the person and what he or she needs.

I like to journal because I hate when the past blurs together. I hate forgetting names and places and days that were important to me, and committing them to paper gives me the record I need to remember them. I like revisiting the happiest day in my 16-year-old self's life and gauging where I am now based on how much I've gained and lost since then. I like seeing the notebooks I used and the pens I wrote with and the spelling errors I made. It's all just progress. It's all just my story.

People will tell you journaling organizes and inspires a creative mind, or that it helps focus and achieve goals. Some people sort through thoughts, some people generate them. Some people do both.

To be totally honest, it doesn't do any of those things for me. But it does something, and that's enough.

 

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