The other day I was going through an old childhood trunk I call my Trunk oâ€™ Memories when I came across some of my trip diaries from the â€˜60â€™s. My husband and I sat down, read through them and had a great laugh. Back in the day, my frugal mom would put $25 in an envelope for each day of travel, all road trips, of course. That $25 covered all expenses for me and my mom and dad, including gas and the motel. I duly recorded said expenses in the diary and some days we even had a buck or so left over to add to the next dayâ€™s envelope. The diaries brought back so many memories of the places we visited (mostly the northeastern U.S. â€“ we were from Toronto, Canada), the â€˜60â€™s era, my thoughts at the time, and the weather. Yes, I also recorded the daily temperature and precipitation.
I had forgotten about those diaries this summer when we embarked on an epic family road trip where I once again kept a daily diary. This time I tapped away on my iPad in my Pages app. I call it epic. Think eight people in a GMC Yukon SUV, three of them six years old and under, on a road trip up the California coast to Portland, Oregon, and back. We stopped along the way (many times), had some fun and some not-so-fun adventures, went through a lot of diapers, laughed and cried (sometimes it was me), and I duly recorded it all. Yes, including the weather.
What Iâ€™d done back in the day and now, was journaling. As I wrote in my journal before bed last night, I realized that I have always journaled. But why? Why did I feel the need to record the daily routines, the life-altering events, my thoughts and feelings, the weather? Iâ€™m sure it was not just to place these things in the historic record, to be read twenty or thirty years from now.
Remember that secret diary with the tiny key you kept as a teen, the one your bratty little brother read excerpts from to all his friends? You snatched it from his grubby hands and wrote that night,
Iâ€™m going to strangle my brother and stuff his body into his stinky gym bag!
That was journaling. Admit it. You felt a darn sight better after venting. And so, thatâ€™s why I journal. I feel better afterward. I throw down on the page my innermost thoughts, my deepest feelings, loves and hates, hopes and dreams. For my eyes only.
I think everyone knows this about journaling. But when I was researching the subject, I came across a website that listed no fewer than 100 benefits! Check it out at www.appleseeds.org/100_journaling.htm.
Here are some of my favorites: empowers, strengthens your sense of self, soothes troubled memories, creates awareness, eases decision making, measures and tracks whatâ€™s important (so, the weather must be important to me â€“LOL!). The list includes writing-related benefits: enhances breakthroughs, unfolds the writer in you, allows freedom of expression, enhances self-expression, teaches you how to write stories. In fact, Iâ€™ve taken some writing classes where you were required to keep a daily journal. It can actually kick-start your muse. Now weâ€™re at 101 benefits! So, if youâ€™re not journaling, get yourself one of those pretty journals and a favorite pen and place them on your bedside table. Make it a habit to write in it every night whatever comes to mind, even if itâ€™s just the weather. Trust me, youâ€™ll be glad you did.
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