OPINION: Why journaling is so important


Abbie Russman

Keeping a journal can be a great way to reflect and learn. Photo courtesy of pexels.com

I recently found myself in quarantine again, and while I had lots of schoolwork to keep myself busy, I had plenty of time to seek entertainment through other facets. For example, I read the entire “Hunger Games” series in five days (and just in case you were wondering, I have always been, and will always be, #TeamPeeta).

Delving back into that series reminded me of a short story I wrote for a creative writing class a couple years ago in high school. I dug out my flash drive and opened a folder to all the assignments I did for that class. What I read impressed me, and I tried to mentally go back in time and remember what was going on in my life at that time. Lots of memories from junior year came flooding back to me.

I came across a memoir I wrote about my grandpa’s farm. It encapsulated many major memories I have of the place, and it was so refreshing to remind myself of those times.

I have always kept a journal of some sorts. Nowadays, I keep a prayer journal, which contains all the information any other journal would keep, too. I found some downtime earlier on in my quarantine to look back at some things I had written in just the past month, and I caught a glimpse at how much I have changed within the span of just a couple of weeks.

Life keeps on going, and so do we, but it is so necessary for us to remember who we are, where we came from, and what we’ve gone through. Keeping a journal not only helps us to remember all of these things, but it can be very therapeutic, maybe even cathartic, to write some of our experiences down. Maybe it’s the littlest of details, or a life-changing event. Whatever it is, you’ll be able to look back on it in a few years and remember why you wrote that down and what emotions you were feeling. It’s a simple way to help you process, reflect, learn, and grow. Plus, if you become famous and die as a legend, people will love to read about your everyday life.

One thing that deterred me sometimes from journaling was the cost of a nice journal. But I’ve learned that it does not matter what you journal in or where, all that matters is that you take the time for yourself to do it. I’ve journaled in a notebook (not a cute little notebook, a school journal), on spare pieces of loose-leaf, and on the covers of pads of paper when I’ve run out of room on the inside.

I encourage you, start journaling today. You don’t have to do it every day, but I suggest journaling at least once a week to recap what happened.  Set aside a specific time to do it. Turn on your favorite music and let yourself reflect. Don’t view it as a chore; view it as an opportunity for self-care. Soon you’ll find you look forward to it.