When I was in high school, a fabulous English teacher somehow got me to go to a writer's conference on the campus of UPenn in Philadelphia. I think I was 16. I started my first official journal in the spiral bound Penn notebook they gave us, while my dad drove me home.
By the time I graduated from college I had more than 100 journals of all shapes and sizes.
I used to number them in the corner, every new one got a number on the inside cover. I stopped this process and I wish I hadn't. It made it easier to put them in order and easier to label exactly how prolific I'd been.
I kept pretty detailed journals during my pregnancy. That changed with the birth of my daughter. Then I journaled when I could, but no longer with the intensity or the frequency that I used to. It got to the point, and this was recently, that my journal entries would be a weekly affair instead of the breaking news format I used to follow.
With some of my recent health issues, I thought I needed to return to as-needed journaling. I wanted to record everything I'm thinking and feeling in order to connect or perhaps disconnect my physical and emotional problems.
I have done this for about three weeks. Maybe four. I'm worrying that these entries are clinical, full of my rants and fears, and make me look like a basket-case. But then I see a glimpse of the old me, and the old journals, with hastily scribbled items like this:
How many thaws from frigid winters
until a heart can no longer be reached
with the frayed and weakening stems
of dandelions held by the tiny hands
of strangers' children?
And I do think that journaling has redirected my attention from social media and also put me more at peace. Now, if only I could make the time to resume my bicycle rides and do some yoga, I might regain some real peace of mind.