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Then & Now: Journaling

When I was a young child I would journal in a fuzzy, yellow My Littlest Pet Shop book with pink lined paper and a bookmark with a smiling monkey on the end. I would write passionately about my playground extravaganzas, the hardships of third grade, and what I had for lunch. I'm not sure why or when I stopped, but I didn't pick journaling back up until high school. Sitting in Creative Writing class, my teacher instructed us to journal before the start of each day. This time, I would write in a college-ruled spiral notebook about navigating toxic friendships, silly crushes, and traumas from childhood that were beginning to resurface as stress levels were spiking. A few months later, class ended and I stopped journaling.

It wasn't until June 9th, 2018 at 12:08 AM that my pen scrawled into a blue journal that I randomly picked out from Target's stationery section. Months prior to June 9th, I told myself I would start journaling. I desperately wanted to get back into it but never took the initial step. There were times I would sit and watch things happening all around me but with no way to memorialize them besides a picture on my iPhone. But a picture on my iPhone could not portray the euphoric joy I felt in a moment, or the anguish I experienced from an encounter with someone. A picture could not convey the debate occurring in my head about whether or not I was making the right choices in life; only a journal could open the door to the deep recesses of my mind...

Thus began Neaco's year-long journey of journaling.

But I'm not going to write a long post about the benefits of journaling. No, I just want to share a simple anecdote that occurred while rummaging through my journal entries today.

June 14th, 2018 at 10:13 AM in Mom's Apartment:

"Right now I'm struggling to find my happiness. I sit and get hallow and broody inside recently and I question a lot about what I'm doing for my future."

June 16th, 2019 at 15:58 PM on the floor of my Berkeley apartment as I write on the coffee table in the common area:

"Yesterday, during the end of my hike, I had a pure moment of euphoric joy and happiness that I began to cry from the overwhelming feelings. I realized that I am so happy and I've grown and learned so much in the past few weeks in California...

Going forward, I need to re-evaluate what I want to do with my life."

I remember the Summer of 2018 was a difficult time for my family as they were navigating a divorced household and how I felt stuck in Arizona. There were nights of sad, confusing feelings where I wondered about the purpose of my decisions and where they were leading me. Now, a year later, I am in California for an internship. Each day, I am learning a great deal professionally and personally as I come to terms with my work environment and being alone. I'm still the same girl who doesn't know exactly what she wants to do with her future, but I have found happiness and I want to continue striving to be my best.

Journaling allows me to reflect on the emotions I felt in these challenging but beautiful moments. I felt stagnant during the Summer of 2018, but now I feel like I am flourishing into an individual ready to take on the world. Life can be blinding as we're wrapped up in the "now" and it can be difficult to see how much we have grown. The challenges we face allow us to grow with each decision and everyone has the opportunity to find a better path.

Cheers to another year of journaling! 


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