Friday, February 12, 2010

The Value of Journaling

Do you keep a journal? Maybe some of you write a daily journal only when you travel. I can't begin to count the number of times I've read that all writers should keep a daily journal, but not only writers. It's recommended for everyone to do so. It leaves a record for others, it offers opportunity to vent about the joy, anger, frustration, and more in your life, and it allows you to say things you might not voice to others verbally.
Three good reasons, but today I found one more reason a journal is a valuable item.

My dear friend, Mavis, sent me a Valentine greeting letter written in her home in Johannesburg, South Africa. She had dug out her journal kept on a fall trip to the USA in 1988. One week of the trip was spent at a bank convention in Washington, DC and it is where we met. Our husbands were attending the week long meeting, and Mavis and I attended all the spouse excursions together. We met the first night at a cocktail party in a huge ballroom filled with people. We enjoyed visiting with Mike and Mavis right from the start and whisked them off with us to a party one of the investment companies had later that evening. We've visited one another's homes several times and traveled in European countries together several times. Over these 22 years, a deep and lasting friendship has grown.

Mavis copied the journal entries for that week in Washington, DC in her letter. It provided a trip down memory lane and turned out to be one of the nicest valentines I've ever received. For one thing, only a dear friend would take the time to dig out that particular journal and then type it all into a letter. And it meant a great deal to me to read how our first meetings had occurred and the nice things she'd written about that time in our lives. I, of course, remembered the main things, but she had added little details which brought it all back in living color. What fun it was to live those moments once again. And it was all made possible because of her journal.

I don't keep a daily journal, but I do write a daily diary when we travel. It's fun years later to read about what we've done, what I thought about some of the places we've visited or people we've met. And perhaps someday my children and/or grandchildren will enjoy reading them. It will give them a picture of the times we lived in, of us as younger people and more.

Some grade school teachers are using daily journals as a teaching tool with children as young as second grade age. Our two oldest granddaughters learned to keep a journal at that tender age. One of them hopes to become a professional news journalist someday. Perhaps learning to journal so early is partly responsible for that.

Try journaling and see what it brings to you. You don't need to write pages every day. Sometimes a few lines will be sufficient. Keeping a journal can easily become a valuable habit.

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