I recently moved, and while going through all of my possessions in an effort to minimize what we’d have to pack, I came across an old journal of mine, one I’d started during my last semester of college, right after I’d gotten married and before I left home to move halfway across the country. I relived those months through those pages, both the happy moments and the sad, and I’ve come to the conclusion that every young adult should keep a journal. Here’s why:
1. You’re Going to Feel Lost.
Finishing your education and embarking on the journey into the “real world” is kind of like being handed keys to a car that you’ve never seen. And don’t know where it is. And it may be on fire. Writing down those feelings is a key way to work through feeling lost or adrift; acknowledging it is the first step to being able to move past it.
2. You’re Going to Doubt Yourself.
It’s going to feel like every decision you make could be a colossal error. Writing down your thought process will help you make the right decisions, or learn from the mistakes you make. It will also help you examine your motives and check your attitude.
3. You’re Going to Need Motivation.
Want to eventually become a manager in your field of study? Write it down. Want to hike Mount Kilimanjaro? Write it down. Want simply to cook for yourself and launder your underwear on a regular basis? Write that down, too. Adulting is hard, and sometimes you need a visible reminder that you do want to achieve some things.
4. You’re Going to Feel Alone Sometimes.
When a friend stabs you in the back or you get passed over for a promotion or that cute person ends up being a total douche, you’re going to feel lonely, and you’re not necessarily going to be able to run back home to your folks to help you. And while pouring your heart out to your cat or dog sounds good, it only does so much. Writing through those feelings helps get them out and will help you move on.
5. You Need to Do Something Offline.
Between Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Match, eHarmony (or Farmer’s Only.com…whatever floats your boat), we’re always connected to that big online world out there. Putting pen to paper is a great way to ground yourself, reconnect with something tangible, and your thoughts won’t be lost forever if you accidentally get a little water on your journal.
6. You’re Going to Want to Remember.
Twenty years from now, your life will look so different; you’ll have new friends, new coworkers, perhaps a spouse, maybe children. Cracking open that journal from when you were 21 will be a nice stroll down memory lane and a good reminder that you’ve come a long way.
7. Your Kids Will Want to Know Your Past.
Someday you’re (probably) going to have a 21 year old son or daughter, and they are going to want to know what you were like when you were their age. The best legacy you can leave your children is the knowledge that you understand what they are going through because you’ve been there yourself.
Life is going to be a crazy, messy, scary, but mostly wonderful journey, and you need to keep a record of it. So hit your local bookstore (or even Amazon), buy a fresh journal, and get started!
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