{the art of journaling...}

i have kept some sort of journal since i was thirteen years old. (the only exception being the four year hiatus i took while i was in college.) so for about 23 years i have been recording my journey through this thing called life. every now and again, i'll go back and read through my journals...sometimes i cringe, sometimes i shake my head, sometimes i feel sad, and sometimes i laugh out loud. if there is one thing this older version would tell my younger self, it would be, "don't worry so much. enjoy life." i suppose i could give myself that same piece of advice today.
one of my favorite pages of all my journals is the one that q-tip (of a tribe called quest) autographed for me. i was living in new york at the time and having lunch with a girlfriend in a nolita cafe, when i heard his all too familiar voice at the next table. i was trembling when i asked him for his autograph, but he was very kind and obliged.

along with the standard journal entries, i have tons of inspirational quotes, poems, and drawings. one of my favorite quotes is by ralph waldo emerson:

Don't be too timid and squemish about your actions.
All life is an experiment.
The more experiments you make the better.

do you keep a journal? do you have wise words for your younger self or a favorite quote? update: i forgot to mention that there is actually a book out right now titled, dear me: a letter to my sixteen-year-old self by james wood (actor), aasif mandvi (comedian), and jodi picoult (writer). it looks really interesting and i bet the book is full of wonderful nuggets of wisdom.

14 Send Me Your Thoughts:

  1. I wish I'd been a better journal-keeper over my life. But then again, I found a journal I kept during my sophomore year of high school when I was obsessed with this one guy and it was totally hot-and-cold, on-again-off-again...and I cringed. I ripped the pages out and shredded them. Still, there are things I wish I'd kept a better record of. I took hundreds and hundreds of pictures, though, throughout my life, so those serve as some type of diary. I'm jealous you have such a strong personal history forever.

    That Q-tip autograph is great!

  2. I am not a great journal keeper. Shame on me. I'm not sure I could go back and re-read though, so maybe that's a good thing. I'm totally digging the five year diary that you turned me onto though! Fingers crossed that I don't fail at that!

  3. I'm the most inconsistent journal keeper on the planet! Every couple years I'll justify spending too much on a beautiful journal (I've bought many at Kate's in NYC), do it consistently for about a month or two and then fall off. I seriously have about 10 journals from the last 12 years, all about half full. Since I had my daughter, I've been pretty good about writing in the Chronicle Books one-line a day for 5 years journal, but it's really all about her and what we did, played, etc. I def need to get back on track :)

  4. I used to keep a journal that I would jot down 5 things that I was grateful right before I would go to bed. .. did it for about 2 years, which I loved looked back at (still have it too). These days, I don't take time to even have cereal in the am ... just today I grabbed 2 tangerines and zooomed out the door for a morning meeting ..... buuuut aiming to change that and take more 'me time' :) THANKS for sharing a glimpse of your journal .. and oh how wonderful taht u had the journal with u the day u spotted Q-Tip in the restaurant :)

  5. i'm a bit like you. i kept a journal all through high school and up until my late 20's since then it has been sporadic writing.
    my earlier diaries/journals make me wish i had more confidence and didn't worry over such small stuff! {but at the time that 'small stuff' seemed all encompassing!}

  6. @ERIN - Ah, that's where you got me. I wish I had taken more pictures. My picture taking was sporadic at best in my early years. Doing a way better job with photo taking now.

    @LAUREN - I know, sometimes I think I'm a glutton for punishment because some of my entries are so sad. Though, it does make me appreciate what I have now. Good luck with the five-year...It's fun.

    @JENNIFER - Shh, I didn't confess that some of those journals aren't finished. I think the five-year all about your daughter is great because, as I'm sure you know, they grow fast and we quickly forget.

    @ADA - The gratitude journal is a great one! I kept a gratitude journal for the month of January in 2011 and I always went to bed on a positive note. We should definitely restart that...We don't even need to write it down, just think it right before we go to sleep.

    @JULIA - I know, right? I usually don't bother celebrities when/if I see them (well, I can't say that anymore ;), but he was an arm's length away. I couldn't resist.

    @LEAH - Oh, you're so right about having more confidence and not worrying about the small stuff. Why is hindsight always 20/20? They say when you reach your 40's, you become less and less self-conscious and just live your best life. I'm so ready for that to kick in. ;)

  7. I wish I would have kept a running journal but I guess it's never to late right? That's cool that you have detailed memories to read back on. I think I would tell my younger self that in life there will be set backs but if you stay strong in your faith you will always come out on the other side a stronger person.

    P.S. that's cool you have Q-tip's autograph!

  8. T,
    Among the many wonderful things you have given to me, and that I have picked up because I wanted to be like my big sister was keeping a journal :D I too have been keeping a journal since I was 13 ( somethings to be proud of, and others I'd like to forget). It is an evolution of writing, self, thoughts, and method of journaling. I have just recently tried to combine writing with pictures, souvenirs, memorabilia, etc. (I don't know why that never occurred to me before). So I like your autographs, pictures, etc. I also like your mention of the 5 year journal. That would be cool to compare year to year. I say to my younger self: you can do anything you set your mind and heart to do, so be confident in the choices you make and bring forth the effort to fulfill your goals/dreams.

  9. hi teri, i have always kept a journal, too, but right now it is a bit neglected. it's calling my name. i am calmer and more centered when i have time to think, and writing helps me think. do you find that? so hooray for you! also i love the squeamish quote. i'm experimenting today! happy friday!

  10. I can't believe you've got all those journals, that's all kinds of amazing. And they look so creative and your lovely handwriting. I'm so envious, I wish I had something like that. I'm seriously impressed T, how wonderful for you.

    A Q Tip! That is rad (I've never said that word before, am I too old for it?) x


    still having problems with wordpress comments :(

  11. @TORI - So true. Faith and hope will get you through anything life throws at you.

    @MICHELLE - Thank you, sis. It does make me happy to hear that I was good for something ;) Putting everything - quotes, drawings, pictures, momentos, etc - into one journal is fun. It makes the journal a visual scrapbook of your life. Love your advice to your younger self.

    @NOREEN - Writing definitely helps me think. If I'm dealing with a particularly difficult issue, I can usually work it out with myself through writing. I can articulate myself better in writing than I can speaking. (My husband has received many a lengthy email from me over the past 13 years together!)

    @ANNIE - So sorry about the commenting problems! (I think Tina was experiencing problems too.) Will look into it.
    You made me smile. NO, you are not too old to say "rad". A bunch of us have started saying it again over here, so you're on point.

  12. Theresa, am trying again. I love your version of journal/diary keeping. You started far earlier than me and yes, I agree it's fun to look back and ponder..
    I've heard about James Wood's book. Am sure it's fascinating.
    I like being where/who I am today and there is less existential angst in our 40's... Here is to another 25 years of journaling...oh, and now I know who to come to if I need help:)

  13. I wish I had the discipline to keep a journal! I love buying them...but I never use them. I know I will regret it when I'm older. I regret it now, I have a terrible memory. I will have to think about that this week. Maybe this has inspired me to give it another try.


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