(Photo courtesy of Carly Witteman)
La Cañada High School

Opinion: Journaling changed my life and it can change yours

Photographs allow one to perfectly remember how a certain memory looked in great detail. With a photo, you can visually dive back into a certain time, a certain place, a certain person, and a certain moment.

From journaling daily for over a year, I have found that writing daily has allowed me to perfectly remember a feeling. With each journal entry, I can capture the happiest and saddest moments of my life and always have them to reflect back on.

My journaling journey began when I took a creative writing class at my local community college. Our professor had a required journaling element of the class in which we had to purchase a notebook and aim to write every day about anything we wished.

My first journal was lavender. I loved the feeling of the cream paper on my fingertips as my gel pen glided over its surface.

At first, writing daily was a chore. I was always trying to grasp things to write about or consumed with worry that my writing wasn’t good enough. I wrote on what I did that day, random prompts I found online and assorted notes for different classes.

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, and I can attest that they are correct. After the first month or so, I would wake up every morning looking forward to making my cup of coffee, sitting down at my desk and writing down everything that happened the previous day. Even though I had the thought that my days were not that exciting or nothing eventful really happened, I still did it. And I have been doing it ever since.

Passing the one year mark, I have now filled up almost five journals. This morning, I reread every single one of them and was moved to tears. I can see the ways in which I have changed and grown as a person, mentally and emotionally. My voice on the page slowly shifted into one of more strength and confidence in who she is.

Rereading each happy memory, I was engulfed in the joy of remembering that moment and seeing exactly what I was thinking. Rereading each sad memory, I was reminded that I have gotten through difficult times and I will get through them again.

Many people complain that they have nothing to write about or they simply don’t have the time to pick up the practice of journaling. I am here to tell you that I was one of those people. And I am here to tell you to defy thoughts that your life is not interesting enough or your time is too thinly spread — you have thoughts, emotions and experiences that are worthwhile. One day, you will want to remember something as simple as how you felt when you woke up one Sunday morning.

As Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”

Capture how you feel each day. It’s better than taking a photograph.