Insights Into 10 Years of Journal Writing

When I was 12, I started to write a personal journal. I bought the most beautiful notebook in the bookstore and filled it at least twice a week with my adventures and achievements, stories about family and friends, about enemies and obstacles, about joy and disappointments. What started as a “just-for-fun” hobby and a way to express my creativity and love for design (though the notebooks became less and less colorful and cluttered over time), developed into a serious to-do after each remember-worthy event and also a sort of a good habit. Soon I started to realize what a great fun it was to read my older entries, especially the older ones, I couldn’t remember anymore . I laughed over my silliness, analyzed my mistakes, celebrated my victories and remembered the beautiful moments I shared with family, friends and past relationships.

Today I realize what a great benefit this habit has to offer now that I have been writing for over 10 years now. Recently, I opened a journal I wrote throughout 2011 and the experience was overwhelming. Our memory is not like a dvd, which plays the same film over and over again (you can find my article on urbantimes.co here on that topic), it’s not constant, unchangeable material, but rather changes over time, based on the experiences we make after the event. When I read about past events in 2011, the people I met, the friendships or relationships which ended, I started to realize some things I’ve never noticed before, maybe wouldn’t have noticed because I see things different now. The perspective changes over time and with that, your memory also changes and the “colour” of some events. Through my writing I could compare my attitude towards certain happenings now and back then when I wrote them down.

Here is what I’ve learned from these 10 years so far. I’m excited to see how it will probably change  again over the next 10 years and which conclusions I will get from those changes. For me, it definitely helped to take things easier, don’t be too harsh with myself if I make mistakes and to cherish every moment without placing too much importance on other people’s opinion.

1. Some people come and some people go-but they all have a purpose in your life

When I wrote about Tomas, I was full of joy, lighthearted and felt very at ease in his company. This is exactly how one would describe the funny times we had together that I had written down. Though Tomas and I were not a couple, we had a very close friendship, talked about personal things that really mattered to us, laughed a lot and made a lot of party with other friends. Over the course of just a couple of weeks we developed a very strong bond and I felt alive, happy and was truly my best self when I was hanging out with him. I felt at ease and comfortable. Somehow he triggered always the best, funniest and most eloquent site of me. By the end of the summer though things became different between us. The usual and often heard story “boy falls in love with girl, but girl doesn’t feel the same”. Unfortunately, the friendship ended shortly after his confession. At first, I felt really sad losing a good friend and couldn’t see any good in it but after rereading my diary entries about our time together, I also realized something that was like a pattern in similar friendships. Through the acceptance and cheering of  good friends and their loving me for who I am and even admiring my shortcomings, I was not afraid to express myself easily when I was around strangers which helped me a lot in relationships to other people as well. It all added up to a high level of self-confidence which I developed over those years. Since I believe that self-confidence is one of the most important traits one can develop in order to be successful in life (success in every situation), this was a gift which I am very thankful for, because close friends played an important part in this development.

2. Don’t try to impress anybody but yourself

We all do it from time to time, sometimes without even realizing it. Pick up artists even write hundreds of books and ebooks about it and we spend our money sometimes unconsciously because of this one reason! Yes, I talk about the attempt to impress other people. Let it be a potential partner, an old rival from school, the neighbor next door, a colleague or whoever else who can talk and stand upright on this planet. It’s funny that most of the time this attention is directed towards people we don’t even really care about. When I was still in school, I tried to impress my friends and classmates (especially the ones, I didn’t like that much) in order to feel good about myself. Fortunately, rereading these stories made me almost totally immune to these funny tactics, though I see a lot of people (yes, grown ups, too) competing with each other over travel experiences, wine knowledge, sport achievements, education…the list is never ending! Especially as a woman you will observe this a couple of times up close when some men think they can win you over with some stories about their brave trip to the Amazonas or Mount Everest while already waving with their sports medal in Martial Arts before the first story was even finished. What I try to say is-rereading my journal, I realized that most of the people I tried to impress in life, were not worth it! It’s like wasting your energy on something that is not efficient or helpful or both. Many of the people I tried to impress were either too focused on status which is not the type of people I want to have as friends anyways, or they were people I didn’t like in the first place and just wanted to make them really jealous. So the point is-focus on yourself! If you impress yourself, you get the most out of it, you grow from it, develop your skills and then people will be impressed by your achievements anyways- and those will be the people you care about most and people who care about you!

3. It doesn’t matter what you do-just do it, even if in small steps at a time

I’m a very impatient person. I want everything, at the same time and as quickly as possible. This is why I’m, for example, so prone to buffets, with a lot of choice instead of having to decide on one thing. Also, this makes me very susceptible to slips of the pen and stupid mistakes along my way. Realizing, when reading stories about my achievements, like achieving the brown belt in Tae-Kwon-Do or my diving license taught me that success comes in small doses and finally adds up to a great experience of fulfillment and contentedness. Slowing down and be more accurate is sometimes, if not even most of the time, the fastest way to success because you don’t have to correct all the mistakes you make along your way. Probably, and even pretty sure, you will make them anyways, but you will certainly avoid those who could be avoided when speeding down a bit.

The benefits of so many years of constant writing was a deeper understanding of my development as a person, my relationships and an inimitable insight into what I really expect of my life.

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2 thoughts on “Insights Into 10 Years of Journal Writing

  1. Jeff Kent says:

    Good read. I have a part in the story I’m writing where a lady writes in her journal (and the protagonist reads it). I was hoping for insight into it, since I’ve never kept a journal, and instead found an interesting take on how experience shapes us.

    Like

  2. marinazayats says:

    Hi Jeff! Thank you- it was an interesting experience to share my views since normally, writing a journal is a really private thing. In case you have any questions, I’m glad if I can help-the story you write on sounds exciting.

    Like

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