Keep a Record

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As 2010 comes to a close, I find myself in a very reflective mood. This year has been full of triumphs and challenges. However, the discoveries and lessons learned were extremely rewarding. I started thinking about the areas that I have grown in this year, and I realized how instrumental journaling has been in helping me to process and learn from the events in my life. I was first introduced to the value of journaling about six years ago when a very influential woman at the Environmental Protection Agency shared the insights she has received from journaling. She made a point that really resonated with me: “Your thoughts and experiences become permanent when they are written on paper.” Also, the benefits of journaling are endless—reducing stress, conceptualizing goals, assisting with problem-solving, and helping with working memory.

As the beauty of our lives unfolds, that beauty will stay with us longer if we capture it by keeping a personal record. As we all know, sometimes the price of beauty is pain, but it gives us perspective and produces resiliency—simply writing about life’s challenges helps us to better cope with them. Also, Webster’s dictionary indicates that a record is “something set down in writing for the purpose of preserving the knowledge of it.” There are many lessons that we go through in life, and we acquire much needed knowledge and wisdom in the process.

Interestingly, researchers have found that you are more apt to commit facts to memory when you take notes. So I say take note of the things in your life that you never want to forget.

  • What has left a permanent mark on your life?
  • Even if it was a challenge, how did you overcome that challenge?
  • What has brought meaning to your life?
  • What did you prove to yourself?
  • Did you learn how to trust yourself more?

Through it all, I have come to realize that I love life—even with its challenges and my shortcomings because on the other side of my challenges are victories, strengths, and triumphs. Triumphs have occurred in our lives—sometimes we forget to pull them up from our memories. But, I challenge you to find a permanent place for those unforgettable memories—a journal keeps record of the beautiful and historical moments in your life. Not only do the lives of famous people deserve to be recorded, but your life holds incredible importance; and no one can tell your story like you can. Hopefully, as the years pass by, you will have a book that is more meaningful to you than any other autobiography because it is the one that you lived through. All in all, I say cheers to meaningful, hopeful, and reflective living!

Cassandra Kirkland, M.S.

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