I love journals.

I’ve kept a personal journal since I was ten or eleven, and I have them all lined up on a shelf in my room. Every Christmas and birthday, I acquire journals as gifts, and I use gift money to buy more journals. Something about the pretty covers and blank pages of yet-unlived stories gets me every time.

I don’t recall how exactly it started, but I do remember starting to journal my thoughts, daily life, and memories with the conviction that these were all very important. I remember becoming so overwhelmed with each detail of life, so convinced that they were all significant, that I had no choice but to write my life down as I was living it.

I still don’t know why the ins and outs of daily life have always been so significant to me, unless of course it has something to do with me being a writer. I always wrote with the conviction that people in the future would want to know what my life was like, and I wrote, at first, like I was writing a story.

As I got older, of course, my journals became more raw, more honest, more stream-of-consciousness. This shift has made each journal like a tiny time capsule of who I was at the time. Now, I look back at my numerous autobiographical tomes and see patterns in my life that led to where I am now. I read about an event that happened six years ago, and I see how that led to some of my present-day behaviors. It’s fascinating how my own words, thoughts, and feelings jog my present memory. They put me in situations long forgotten.

Reading a diary is like time travelling; you meet your old self, hear her hopes and fears, and tell her things you’ve learned, things you know now that you didn’t know then. It’s very therapeutic in a way; it closes a loop and completes a journey. The things I struggled with in the past find peace, or at the very least explanation, in the future. The older and wiser me can meet the younger with more knowledge, more grace. It makes you more forgiving of yourself, more aware of the process that life entails. And even this pseudo-time travel is a process, because someday I’ll be older and wiser than I am now, and the cycle, the journey, continues.

It’s ironic, isn’t it? While I thought I was writing for posterity, I was really writing for myself.

 

Published by Hannah Kennedy

Hannah is an old lady at heart, with a deep love of yarn and floral patterns. She has curly hair, she is a lefty, she googles everything, and her favorite color is blue. She can usually be found reading everything from nineteenth-century fiction to modern psychology, doing yoga, dragging out chores to fit the podcast she's listening to, or watching The Office with her husband.

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2 Comments

  1. I totally can relate to this! I also keep journal when I was like eight up until now but sadly those journals were misplaced and lost. However, my hopes are still up in writing journals. I love the part when you’ve mentioned about reading your old diary is like time travelling, you get to meet your younger self, full of hopes and dreams. ❤ And its just so perfectly amazing when you’d be like reading your journal five years from now and you’ve put into contrast your life before and now. You’ll see how much you’ve grown and improved. ❤🙌 So many realizations! Thanks! Big thumbs up! ✨

    Liked by 1 person

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