The other day I was listening to the Hopeologie podcast. The Nester, Myquillyn Smith, and her sister, Emily Freeman, along with some guests talked about gifts you can give to your future self. They mentioned gifts like a Stitch Fix box, bacon, and pink glasses. (I will admit that I now have some extra bacon hanging out in my freezer. If you listen to the first five minutes of the podcast you will hear why.)
After I listened to this podcast, I wondered if there were gifts I was giving to my future self. I try to make sure the kitchen is totally clean every night. It’s a gift to myself when I wake up in the morning, and it helps me get my day off on the right foot. As I thought more about it, though, one of the best gifts I give to my future self is writing in a journal.
Writing in my journal benefits me at the time I am writing because it helps me process what I am going through and also helps me capture what I am learning so I can access the new found knowledge later. But recording experiences and learning has an even greater impact on me when I take the time to go back and read my past entries.
Religious leader Richard G. Scott describes how I feel perfectly.
I have many journals that date back to when I was just 6 or 7 years old. The journals from my teenage years are more of a log of the boys I liked but I still find the words I wrote back then valuable. If anything, I can see how much I have grown up since those frivolous, drama-filled adolescent years!
I wrote in my journal every day when I served as a missionary for 18 months. I read this journal often, and I treasure it. I go back and read what I wrote and I’m glad I kept a daily record because sometimes I can’t even remember the event I wrote about. On a deeper level, though, I think my daily writing as a missionary has helped me to retain the valuable lessons I learned about myself, about serving others, and about God’s love.
When I returned from my mission, I didn’t continue my daily journal writing habit, but I did write often. The journal from my early 20s is my favorite. That time in my life was so critical to my future. I didn’t realize it while I was going through it, but God was guiding my path is such a powerful way. I was deciding what to study in school, what to do about a career and preparing for marriage and motherhood, even before I met the man I would marry. I am so grateful I wrote these experiences down. They have helped me to see how much God is a part of my life, even in the smallest details.
Today I write in my journal several times a week. I write about what is going on in my life, but I especially like to write about what I am learning. I am passionate about learning and growing and writing down my thoughts, insights, and experiences related to learning new things helps me connect the new found knowledge to applicable parts of my everyday life.
I recently took the time to go back and read all of my entries from the past year. I was able to see things I didn’t see at the time I was going through them. As I was reading over what I wrote for a whole year, one word kept coming to my mind, perspective. By writing in my journal, I am giving my future self the gift of perspective.
I am sure there are more gifts I could give to my future self. I am going to sit down to think and ponder about this more. Then I’m going to write those gifts to myself down in my journal. They will be there as a gift anytime I need them.
How has journal writing helped you? What are the gifts you give to your future self? Share your perspective in the comments.
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