Fall is the perfect season to make this your new hobby
Writing in a diary — or a journal, as I like to call it — is my favourite old lady pastime. I began this hobby because of my childhood obsession with the Dear Canada series, where fictional young women detail their experiences of real historical events. Though I have never lived through a rock slide or been personally affected by the pandemonium of a 19th century gold rush, I still find writing about my day to be a consistent joy in my life. Here are four reasons why you, too, should consider it as your new, old-timey daily practice.
Wait, that happened?
The first and most obvious motivation to keep a journal is to record what’s going on in your life. We all know the feeling of having your semester quickly blend into one vague blob of memory when it’s over. I find a strange amount of comfort in knowing that I’m detailing my day, every day, no matter how little I write. Journals are also a great place to keep lists that are a bit too abstract for my notes app, such as classes that pique my interest or restaurants to visit. From a historical perspective, it’s useful to be able to look back and see what the weather was like or how I reacted to big events. But I even enjoy reading about the mundane; it’s an endearing reminder of the little things that make life so rich.
How was today?
Writing is something you can do virtually anywhere, no matter what. We can all agree that humans thrive when following a routine, and keeping a journal is such a satisfying place to start. It’s a simple thing that you can do for yourself every day. No one is going to argue or speculate whether or not writing is a “good” use of your time — it just is. Make some tea, play some jazz (or Deftones, or whatever you need), and light a scented candle. The best part about having a journal is that it’s yours, and yours alone. You can write in all caps. You can write in cursive. You can write with a sharpie, then a pen, then a pencil. I am personally quite attached to my 0.05 mm Pentel Energize pencil.
How do I feel about things?
Another positive reason to write in a journal is to check on your mental wellbeing. I’m the type of person who needs to spend a fair amount of time thinking about (and talking through) everything that’s going on in my life. There’s no better place to get it all out than in a journal — sometimes there are just some things you need to mull over that you don’t want anyone to know about. Journaling is also a great place to weigh big decisions about your life. Let it all out, go to bed, and come back the next day to re-evaluate your thought process from before.
WHY did I do that??
Us humans make a lot of mistakes. Most of the time, they’re minor, and more often than not, they’re wickedly embarrassing. My diaries from years past are one of the most awful, hilarious sources of entertainment for me and my poor, poor roommates. I’ve been writing in a journal nearly every day since I was 13, and if this hobby has taught me anything, it’s to laugh at the moments you once cried over. Even now, when I fall on my face trying to get off the bus, I’ll write it down with the hopes that it might be funny when I’m 85. It’s also incredibly amusing to watch yourself grow and change. I’m certainly less of a naive worrier and more of a confident semi-adult than I used to be. Why did I care so much about all of these things that seem irrelevant today, like where my locker was in grade 11 or which English class to take in first year? And maybe I’ll say the same about today’s journal ten years from now, which I suppose is why this whole practice is so enlightening.