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Why do I Journal?

Updated: Nov 10, 2023

July 8, 2023

Journals on the shelf

On a shelf in my office sits a pile of diaries and journals in which I have documented my history since high school. At times, I wondered why I kept them, but I could never convince myself to throw them out, so there they sat. Then, in the summer of 2020, when my business partner died by suicide, I discovered why I had kept my journals.

Without Jenny, I was lost and didn’t believe I could move forward alone. For over a decade, she had pushed me to my limits—far beyond where I thought I could reach. As I prepared to drive to Colorado for her Life Celebration, I rented an Airbnb cabin in the mountains for a month, grabbed my hiking boots, my pile of journals, and headed north.

It so happened that my 70th birthday was just around the corner, which was also causing me to contemplate future goals and added to the heaviness I felt throughout my body.

One crisp mountain morning, as I sat down to read the journals, I thought, if I see the picture of where I have been and what I have accomplished, my fog will clear, and my future path will be apparent. And it happened.

It all came back to me as I walked through the years, the challenges and accomplishments, the loves and heartbreaks, and forgotten dreams. Leaping from the pages, I saw the spirit of the girl I have always been. Each time she came to a turn in her road where she had to go forward alone, her next adventure was more amazing than the last. I had never realized that.

After reading my journals, I could see I was standing on a precipice with a world of possibilities ahead of me. The girl I read about was strong, optimistic, and a free spirit—nothing could stop her. I looked in the mirror and saw that beneath the wrinkles, she hadn’t changed that much, and I had a pile of journals on the floor to thank for the reminder.

Sharon Thayer at her cabin

I hadn’t written and saved my journals as fodder for a memoir or to leave behind for my children. I had written them for me, so I could remember who I am, what I have done, and what I have left to do.

So, this summer, I encourage you to pull out your journal or buy a new one with a pretty cover and write a chapter that will remind you, on a day you need it most, of the great things you have done and the dreams you have yet to live. Happy journaling!


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