This month, The Journal CEO shares with us a personal, seven-year journalling journey:
I’ve been journalling for 7 years now, since Fall 2006. That was a time of life filled with a variety of life changes – graduation, new job, family moving, friends moving all over the world and many intense emotions. So, I did the only thing I could think to do to release all those emotions: start journalling.
Around that time, I had been encouraged by a few people to journal. One was from an encouraging boss who gave me a journal for Christmas and said, “Every good writer needs a good journal.” I didn’t see myself as a particularly good writer, but figured that if she valued journalling as a way to improve writing skills, I should too. A few years before that, my grandfather had written me a letter also recommending journalling. He said, “You are truly living in an historical place and in historical times. Treasure every experience – and even record them in a journal.”
So, I did and seven years later, I’m still writing. I’m really glad I started journalling, as I made a lot of life changes the next few years after that. My journals documented my last year in Washington, D.C., and several moves back and forth across the country. They have documented different schools I’ve attended, jobs I’ve had, vacations I’ve gone on and, most importantly, the memories of daily life.
I’ve made lists of a variety of things about my life: places I’ve lived, favorites movie, favorite restaurants, top ten life memories, childhood memories, college memories, what I want my future family to be like, memories to make with my future children, regrets, ways to cope with depression, hobbies I want to try, memories from previous vacations, lists of my favorite songs, favorite quotes, schedule of my current daily routine, what’s in my bag, outfit of the day, my bedroom and a current photo of me. It’s funny how we think that we’ll always feel the same way or have the same opinions on life, politics, career, family, hobbies, the world and even our own personalities. When, really, we change immensely – especially between our teens and twenties. We think we’ll remember these times forever, when really all the memories blur together in life and we forget so much. Seven years later, I now have somewhere around 40 filled journals and about 75 blank journals.
I’ve used a variety of types of journals over the years. I had tried to begin journalling a dozen or more times over the years, but would quit after a few pages – either because I didn’t know what to write, or because the paper quality or journal itself wasn’t a good match for me. But I finally discovered a variety of journal styles that I liked: Paperblanks®. I got my first Paperblanks® journal in 2007 and it was from the Intricate Inlays series. I had finally found a journal with an elegant hard cover, smooth paper and an elastic! I’m also picky about my paper. It has to be smooth with “proper” line spacing. I prefer journals with rounded corners, and I prefer either a 3 x 5 (Mini) or 5 x 7 (Midi) size. I’ve never been able to journal in a composition notebook for long. I prefer hard covers to soft covers, as soft covers seem to get worn too easily for me. I am perpetually buying journals it seems, and there’s a variety of them that I’ve been eyeing. Paperblanks® Equinoxe Azure: You’re. On. My. List.
I use these journals to write basic daily life routines so I can have a snapshot of how my life is right now: the places and people in it, the daily routine, my personality and interests, and what I think my life will be like in the future. I also like to document some of the funnier or memorable things that friends and family have said to me over the years. A few examples of friends and family comments that I’ve included in my journals are:
“Your car is like riding in a spaceship.” – Henry
“I crocheted because I’m 88 years old.” – Me
“Oh, you’re older than me even.” – Grandpa
“There are approximately one million people at Walmart.” – Sylvia
These comments are a few of many that have made it into my journals. They show a little of the personalities of the people in my life and of our relationships. I also use journalling to deal with the heavier emotions, like loss, depression, regret and fear of the future. I’ve found that journalling helps remind me that emotions are very fleeting, that we can have a future after all and that even if I feel overwhelmed now, I can be happy again as the past reminds me that I can. Journalling has helped me be more forgiving of myself and of life. It reminds me of what I’ve overcome and where I’m coming from with my personal views, and that there are still things I want to do and try. Sometimes it’s easy for life as an adult to become mundane drudgery, as if we’ve already tried everything – but, as I realized the other day when doing cartwheels on a newly cut lawn with a friend, there are still new memories to be made and carefree fun that we can have no matter how old we are.
Earlier this year I decided to try collaging in my journals. I have roughly the artistic ability of a tadpole, so I just cut out pretty magazine pictures and throw some paint on it. I use acrylic paint and sometimes add stickers or use stencils to create textures. I’m frugal, so I use folded-up paper towels instead of paintbrushes to smudge the paint across the page. When I first started collaging, I tried to find magazine photos that could fill the entire page in the journal. Now I prefer to cut up smaller magazine clippings and glue them on the page like a layered puzzle. Then I toss some paint on it. I’ve gotten into adding quotes and song lyrics to the collages too.
I hope to continue journalling for years to come and want to use it as a way to vent, to document my life, to discover what I really want out of life and what makes me happy, and to remind myself that emotions and time are fleeting. I want to be able to look back at my journals from today and remember the small funny details of life, the funny things people said and how I felt about my life now and what I thought about the future. I want to see patterns in my life, to discover what I can do to make my life better and happier and to remember the interesting memories over the years.
And just who is The Journal CEO? Find out more on JournalCEO.com and Youtube.com/User/TheJournalCEO.
About Paperblanks®: We have been producing superb writing journals for twenty years. We are book people, and we believe that the written word matters and that our blank books have a critical role to play in the art and continued practice of writing itself. For more about Paperblanks®, go to our website at paperblanks.com.