I Totally Suck At Journaling, But I’m Kind Of Glad About It

Thomas Martinsen
Thomas Martinsen

I still remember my first journal. It was muted blue and beige with a Parisian image on the front and an old style scripted letter that bled into the Eiffel tower. I remember being intimidated by it. How I wanted to write in its off-white pages, but wasn’t sure at all what words would be worthy of the beautiful journal.

When I finally wrote in it, I felt a rush of release, but I was never able to keep at it. What I mean is, I would write in it for a month and then forget about it. Not on purpose, just because life got in the way. It would get harder and harder to remember to write in it.

As a result, I started collecting journals. I would find another beautiful journal and decide, “this time, I’ll write in it every day.” I guess it would have made more sense to just pick up the old journal, but starting fresh always seemed like the brighter idea. That is, of course, until I bought my leather bound journal.

I had wanted a leather bound journal with a string for years, so when I found one on sale, I had to buy it. By this point, all of my previous journals were either tore up, thrown out, or in hiding in the closet that shall not be mentioned. I was 25 years old when I bought it. I still suck at keeping my journal. There are 4 or 5 passages from when I first bought the journal, then, it skips ahead about 8 months for another few passages, then 6 months and so on and so forth. At least now, I am adding to the same journal. And now, I’m seeing so many benefits from my sucking at keeping a journal.

Each time I re-visit my journal, it’s a look into who I used to be.

Right before writing in my journal, I always go back and look at its contents. I see my past struggles and accomplishments. I see the way things used to be. I see the way I used to look at things. It brings up memories, both good and bad. But overall, it makes me see how far I’ve come since those previous entries.

The months in between passages, show me how much life changes, even when it feels like it doesn’t.

My old roommate used to say “I feel like I’m living in the movie Groundhog Day, but it’s not funny and there’s no Bill Murray.” I always loved that saying, because it felt so painfully true. We go about our lives and it seems so mundane and routine, that it’s hard to see that life is actually constantly changing. By not writing in my journal for months at a time, I can see just how much has changed.

One of my entries starts off with something along the lines of “So much has changed.” I go on to write that I’m singing regularly at a bar and that I’m in a band and that I’ve been published and etc., etc., etc. When I wrote that entry, I had an overwhelming feeling that things do change, but we get so focused on the day to day, that it’s hard to see the big picture.

Each time I write in my journal, it’s like catching up with a good friend.

I love when I randomly pull out my journal, because It’s like catching up with a good friend. Since I don’t write in it regularly, I always have so much to say. Like, hey journal, I have a boyfriend now and he’s great! Or, hey journal, let me tell you all about this vacation I just went on. It’s a great feeling to know that I have so many stories to tell and I love that my journal keeps all of my stories and secrets and feelings for me to look back on the next time I get it out and feel like catching up again.

Since I’m so bad at keeping my journal regular, it only gets the big events from my life.

This kind of goes along with that previous point, but like catching up with a good friend, they only get the big events. If a family member has passed or if I get a new job… my journal only gets the big events and the feelings, I had whilst these big events occurred. I mean, really, who wants to read a bunch of boring entries like “hey journal, nothing much happened today.” By sucking at keeping a journal, I’m able to see all of the big events in my life and I love that. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

More From Thought Catalog