Journaling: The 5 Year Plan

Journaling: The 5 Year Plan

I began journaling when I was 5. I have loved writing and recording the memories of my day for a long time. Writing down the day’s events was a delight to me every night. Between the ages of 5 and 13 I filled over 15 journals with entries, taping tickets to a movie into the page or a letter from a pen pal; I even illustrated some days – they were THAT good. As I got older my entries became less frequent and began to feel like a burden. I couldn’t commit to all the detail I was used to putting into them. With piles of homework, a driver’s license & a later curfew my habit of journaling was forgotten.

I’ve always felt some guilt over that – that I didn’t take the time to write it all down. I love having a gateway into old memories and escaping into those youthful places, some of which I don’t even remember having. It’s fascinating to see a younger you on paper. I have tons of documented proof that I’ve changed, progressed and grown in some way throughout the years. So there!

I made efforts through college to journal in different ways, I filled one journal with quotes, another with my feeble attempts at poetry, another with prayers, and even another with random moments of creative thought. These were valiant attempts but all of them were incomplete and scattered, disappointing ends to frenzied dreams.

I have no documentation of how I felt the night I met my husband, how he took me to see a Shakespeare play on our first date, or how I felt when he surprised me 2 years later with a proposal. While I remember each of those events fairly well, it’s all the spaces in between them that are lost to me. My memories have faded and I dearly wish I had some record of our dating life.

oh well.

2 years ago I stumbled upon a little blue book with gold tipped pages and an orange ribbon. It’s called a “One Line A Day” journal and when I opened up the little cream pages I felt the ability to journal on a daily basis return to me. This little book allows you to record your day in 1-3 sentences and has mapped out space for 5 years of entries. The years are not preset, each page is topped with the 365 days in our calendar with five entries below each date.

It’s ingenious.

I bought the journal in 2009 right after we got married with the determination to record and document the first few years of our marriage and I failed miserably.  I wrote in small intervals in 2010, failed almost completely in 2011 and I’ve made a roaring comeback just this summer.

I’m bonkers about this book. I love the idea of having 5 years of journaling all in one tiny book.

Journaling not only gives me a precious record of sweet events & memories, it makes me set aside time each night to reflect on my day, recall my reactions and feelings throughout the day, and it gives me time to consider how well or how poorly I did. This time of reflection is really precious and valuable.

Fun Fact: there are a couple different formats of this journal that would certainly either be great for you or a friend.

– There is the “Q&A” version that asks you a different question for each day of the year allowing you to compare your answers over 5 years.

– For Jane Austen fans there’s the “Jane-A-Day” journal that gives you different quotes to enjoy each day.

– And finally the “Mom’s One Line a Day” – a sweet gift to any new Mom.

These are great gift ideas but I also encourage you to go out and pick one of these up. Look at it as a personal learning & growing experience. Challenge yourself to learn the discipline of a simple journal and reap the rewards of seeing your past entries, the silly & sweet alike. It will be more rewarding than you know.

How many journals have you filled?

What types of journals have you kept?

If you’ve never journaled, what’s kept you from doing it?

Molly Keating
Molly Keating
Molly grew up in and around funeral homes her entire life. In 2009 she began working for O'Connor Mortuary and found a bridge between her passion for writing and her interest in grief and bereavement. In 2016 she earned Certification in the field of Thanatology, the study of Death, Dying and Bereavement. She is honored to be able to write about these taboo topics with knowledge, compassion, and a unique perspective.

21 Comments

  1. neil says:

    Hi Molly –
    I wish I was a person who journaled, I am always afraid that someone will find my journal and read it and then turn me into the police. I admire you for putting your thoughts and life on paper. I know there is value in releasing your thoughts or struggles onto paper, maybe that is why I am not able to release my past and live in the present at times?

    • Molly says:

      Interesting insight Neil. I think there is a lot of power in releasing events to a page. We can let them go, we can forget about them for a while, they are safe somewhere and don’t have to make us crazy. I think there’s a lot of power in that last little question. We should explore it!

  2. Molly girl,
    You’re such an inspiration. And it’s a BOOK!! One that I can keep on my nightstand for 5 years! I love it. I think I might run over to Barney’s at lunch today. Like you, my journaling has been hit & miss over the years. I always managed to put pen to paper during trying times in my life. Those words have brought me such joy to see where I was, and how I overcame challenges. I’m so proud of you!!

    kari

    • Molly says:

      Thank you so much Kari!! Yes, it is a book and a SUPER cute one at that. I hope you do go get it or one like it and enjoy recording your day. Don’t let them slip by!

  3. Molly says:

    Amy, that is so awesome. Neil was alluding to some of the feelings you’re actually experiencing in his comment – you’re proof that he should journal! I’m so glad it is bringing you relief, healing, and peace. I hope you’ll be able to continue at it, it’s a tough discipline but such a rewarding one.

  4. Amy says:

    Molly,
    Like you I have been hit or miss with journaling over the years. Until recently when my counselor told me that it is very therapeutic and a good release to write. I have been writing for the past several weeks. I can’t tell you how much better I feel some days after I have journaled. Like the weight of the world is off my back or how wonderful of a day i had looking back. Thanks for the reassurance that it’s a good thing.
    Amy

  5. Lori says:

    Molly,

    I love this two or three line journal idea! It is like the journal version of Twitter!
    I have always loved the idea of journaling, however, my follow through has been the biggest problem. It has always seemed like an overwhelming task.
    This “One Line a Day” concept makes journaling much less intimidating to me.
    Thank you for sharing your journaling experiences and for introducing this new concept to me!
    Lori

    • MollyKeating says:

      Lori, You’re Welcome! I love just having to journal a few lines a day. It’s also been a great practice in learning to condense my thoughts, write concisely, and put only the most valuable or important moments of my day down. It’s been a really fun practice & I hope you are able to find some time to make it happen!

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