The first line of the first journal in my journey of journals.
“That uneasiness that accompanied my 32nd birthday, that sadness, has not lifted. Like some intruder that follows me, keeping its distance, but yet never completely leaving. It has now been fifteen months, and it is still here.”
This opening line appears in a beige 5 by 7 journal written by P205 Pentel mechanical pencil in faint cursive, so faint one cannot easily decipher all the words in the sentence, in pencil, assuring the writer it could easily be erased.
My father’s death one year before my son’s birth had given me a death and a birth to ponder on the same calendar day. My annoyance at my father’s failure to share in my son’s arrival had complicated my grieving process. The journal became my private avenue for metabolizing the disquieting dialogues between my head and my heart.
For two years, this obscure journal lived hidden in my locked briefcase, brought into the open only for weekly penciled entries. In these two years, I managed to write my way through this grieving process, but began to adopt a more realistic approach to my life , marriage, career, and relationships.
One of the last entries begins….. “ I no longer criticize my friends for making unwise choices for their lives – at least they act on some options. I do not always do as much.”
We cease blaming others and shift our focus on our own reactions to the world. We shift our focus to our internal world no longer the external world. Then, we begin to understand that it's not what happens to us but how we respond and how we think about what happens to us that determines the quality of our life. Journaling has helped me sort this out over the past few decades.
So, where does this all lead? Is it not all just some self-absorbed whining about one's life? Yes, perhaps, but that is where we all begin. It's where we start our journals.
In writing what is most impactful and important in our lives, we give a voice to feelings and perceptions, to the demons that torment us, and to the hopes, wishes and dreams that daily manifest before us. That is where it starts. It can start with timid sentences scrawled onto scraps of paper; sentences that can become blogs, or books, or bestsellers, not by design, but by evolution.
Next – using different journals and journal formats…