Sunday, October 30, 2005

Keeping Journals

I've had many false starts on writing this article. I was going to do something on the use of time, but found I have nothing productive or useful to say on the subject of time management, and therefore probably should not even attempt to give advice.

I've kept a journal since about the third grade roughly, since one of the teachers noted I had a hard time expressing my feelings. However, I only have the ones from 5th grade onward, which right now comprise about three books. Much to my surprise, I'm nearly to the end of the third one.

Mormons are encouraged to keep journals, but they're often told the wrong reasons for doing so. I think the church encourages them so you can see where you are on your journey toward godhood, but what they encourage you to write is supposed to be uplifting and encouraging for future generations. Journals are good for goal tracking, but the church does a disservice by encouraging its members to think that anyone will really be interested in your journal except you. In any case, my handwriting even now is so bad that no one will be likely to read whatever I've had to say anyway.

But on the other hand, although my journals tend to be a bit repetitive (like this site sometimes), they do actually track how I've changed as a person well. Leafing through the first journal I found an article written when I was in 7th Grade about an argument two of my teachers had about me between a teacher I hated and a teacher I like. (And it wasn't an out loud argument, the one teacher was trying to insinuate I was a bad student. My grades in his life science class, however, told a different story. My attitude in band left a lot to be desired, so it's perhaps understandable.) The older me finds such a thing trivial and not worth a waste of paper, was this what was important to me back then?

Even back then I would have served myself far better by actually letting my emotions come out onto the page which is the point of keeping a personal journal in the first place. The first journal of mine is filled with many childish things, moronic advice I thought was good at the time, a few dreams, and my pathetic attempts to write something uplifting back then. The second journal revolves mostly around my employment trials, and the third has a significant portion dedicated to my search for truth, resolving issues from my past, and a great deal to say about episodes leading up to my mother's final days of life.

Once or twice in the first two journals I touch on gender issues, mentioning it at the end of the first journal, and saying that I feel keeping it a secret will eventually destroy me in the second. It's amazing how things concerning that issue have turned around in the third journal and I can finally face them in some small way.

I actually do recommend keeping a journal or diary. It's a great way to keep track of your personal growth, but your failures as well as your successes have every place in it to show you what you've learned. Don't let someone tell you that only edifying things should be contained within its pages.


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At Mon Oct 31, 11:29:00 AM 2005 , Blogger Sheila said...

Sometimes keeping a journal can be intimidating. I've found that just keeping short notes in a calendar can have the same benefit and isn't as much of a committment. You can also try a Moleskine Diary. The small weekly ones give you a tiny space to write short notes about each day. There's even a small pocket in the back for loose papers. I buy mine at the local Barnes & Noble, but you can get them lots of places.

At Mon Oct 31, 09:57:00 PM 2005 , Blogger Becca said...

Actually, all the "lessons" I've had on journal keeping included those typical reasons you listed, and the ones you think should be paid attention to.

At Fri Dec 30, 01:09:00 AM 2005 , Blogger Tony said...

I've really enjoyed reading your blog. Very interesting.

My journal article search site has lots of info pertaining to journal article search.

Come visit sometime :)


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