Welcome to 2011! After a kind-of unplanned hiatus from the blogging world for a few weeks, I’m back and ready for the new year! I’m looking forward to a wonderful year, and over the next few weeks I’ll fill you in on the things I’ve been working on and creating the last couple of weeks. It was SO nice to have exactly 12 days off for Christmas. Now I’m back to work and back to blogging!

I’m not usually one for New Year’s Resolutions, but I think everyone says that no matter what they think of them. Maybe I’ll start calling them “New Year’s Renewals” because it’s usually a renewal of resolutions I made last year—eat healthier, snack less, work out more, manage finances better, keep up with the chores & the blog, etc. etc. etc. This year I have made one resolution in addition to my “renewals,” journal more.

I have my fair share of journals on my shelf. The earliest one I have in the apartment is from junior high. Where I went, what I ate, what movie I watched. . . .definitely detail oriented. Sketches of the tent and cabin layouts at camp. Stickers from Jill’s stash. Crushes. It is hilarious to read, and I can’t get through some of it without dying of laughter. I don’t journal consistently, and have some journals that are just filled with stories of life events that are in no way chronologial. I have sketchbooks and notebooks that also hold biographical information. And I have small stacks of notes I wrote during classes in high school (sorry, Mrs. E—I wrote notes in your class a lot. I sat next to my bff, it wasn’t totally my fault).

The other night I picked up the journal I started during the spring semester of my senior year of college. I wrote in it a lot that year, but since then, the book’s been on the shelf . . . only visited every once in a while for a major life event or to be packed in a box for moving. As I read through it, I realized just how much I had written in it that year and the four-ish years since I started the journal. Though I definitely didn’t write every day or even every month, it holds so much of my major adult-life experiences—graduating from college, my first week of work at the job I’ve now been at for 5 years, the first meal I cooked in my first apartment (spaghetti with meatballs), having friends over, the time six of us all got burned laying out by the pool, the announcement of marriage to myself (way before any engagement had taken place, but we just knew), good talks I had with friends, things about my parents and family I am thankful for. Besides not remembering that I even know how to make meatballs, I couldn’t believe how invaluable this information was to me. I had asked a lot of questions and wrote a lot of advice whilst I rambled about meatballs and movies. “The best is yet to come, right?” or “You can’t relive, only remember.” This journal is not just facts, it’s thoughts—questions, answers, dreams, realities. And at a time where I needed someone to tell me some things, I actually didn’t have to look further than that journal for encouragement. I already knew what to do—what the answers were. I just needed to remind myself. I didn’t realize past me would remind future me with a journal entry. It encouraged me to start writing again. Who knows what is going to be encouraging to look back on in the future?

I’d challenge you to start a journal. You don’t have to write every day. Sometimes a journal is just a place where you need  to voice what you feel when you can’t tell anyone else. It’s a way to talk and always be listened to. It’s a place where you can put down what you’re learning to remember it later. It’s a time capsule. It’s a journey. It’s your life. In the next few weeks and months I’ll be sharing some journal tips and techniques to help jump start any New Year’s writers. Stay tuned!

Photo by gregoryhogan