Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Importance of Journaling

Lately I've been trying to remember when I finally became a life-long vegetarian.  I remember it began with a case of severe food poisoning which let me to researching our whole American food system, and ultimately ended with me examining some of my values.  But I couldn't remember when I started the journey.  So, I turned to my box of filled journals.  After some digging, I located the journal where I talked about getting food poisoning, so I was able to narrow it down to the fall of 2002, almost eight years ago.  I was surprised that I didn't make any more reference to it as it was a huge event in my life.  I suppose the fact that we had our house for sale (by owner, I might add) and were preparing to move to Virginia, while at the same time I was working part time and homeschooling both our children.  

Having pulled out all my journals, I started browsing.  I started "journaling" in 1997 and haven't really taken a break from it since.  Much of my life is contained in those books and I found myself going down the rabbit hole, reading large passages of writing.  There were things I had completely forgotten or my memory had slightly changed the details.  Plus, I saw recurring themes in my life, such as my desire to live more lightly on the earth and to move away from the consumerist culture.  I realized what a treasure I have in my journals.  

I encourage anyone who doesn't journal to consider keeping one.  Some people are intimidated by journaling and don't know what to do when faced with a blank page.  Just write - anything.  Most of my journals contain lists - lists of things I needed to do, lists of books I wanted to read, even lists of annoyances in my life at the time.  Once you get your juices flowing and feel comfortable with the process, you might find yourself like me, feeling something missing if you don't journal.  Of course, if there's a possibility of your journal being compromised by prying eyes, find a safe place to store it.  

I'm so glad that I have these almost 14 years of my life recorded, ever how imperfectly.  


Fiona said...

Cheri, Your journals are so pretty! I haven't journalled as regularly as you, but the times when I have, well it's so interesting to read what I used to think. You're right when you say things are remembered differently. I have some pretty journals which are empty. I think I shall start today. Merci!

Cherie said...

Thank you, Fiona. I try to pick out journals that "speak" to me. There are so many pretty ones out there it's hard to choose sometimes. Often, I pick them up when I'm traveling so they're a bit unique and remind me of my trip. I hope you do start journaling as it's interesting to look back and see how far you've come and how much you've changed.

Deanna said...

This is something I've long wanted to do and have tried a few times without success - rarely do I keep it up for more than a few days. I think that's why blogging has become so important to me and why I nearly had a melt-down a couple of weeks ago when Google shut down my accounts. So much of my life is contained in my blogs!

Turns out someone had hacked my email so it was a precautionary act on Google's part. All I had to do was change my password. You can bet I promptly found out how to export my blogs and save them!

I haven't given up the idea of keeping a proper journal but for now, as least I'm doing something similar, albeit in a public manner, via my blogs.

Cherie said...

Oh, heaven forbid my blog get shut down and/or deleted! I need to find out about exporting it. I've read about a couple of ways you can have your blogs actually converted to print and I've considered doing that so that they become part of my journal collection.