There’s a box that tucked away near my bed. It’s filled with hundreds of handwritten letters from my mother to family members over a span of decades. The postmarks are from wherever she and my father were living at the time: India, Lebanon, Denmark, Modesto, California. Most are in Danish. Written by my mom to her mother and family in Denmark.
As I hold these delicate parchment paper hand penned pieces, there’s something familiar. They remind me of journaling. My mother offers detailed descriptions of life with small children, school uniforms, entertaining guests, relating to neighbors, the smells of the marketplace.
I think of journaling is the new letter writing. To yourself. When you journal, you’re more likely to do it by hand. Some notations capture the events of the day, others a painful relationship, notes from a class, highlights of an important conversation and a place to explore your thoughts and feelings
- You get to express what you’re thinking in the moment – dreams, purpose, relationships.
- When the ideas move from your head to the page, tension is released – almost immediately.
- Do it your way: write a poem, bullet point your day, draw – whatever comes to you in the moment.
- Consider adding something you’re thankful for – and watch how it changes your outlook for the day.
You may rarely go back to your journals to check in, or you might choose to reflect on your day and add more bits every evening. It’s all yours.
I don’t have to read my mother’s letters to know that when she needed to reach out, to feel like what she was doing mattered, to better understand the world around her and to stay connected to herself and her family – she wrote. Thank you, mom.
You’ve got this.