I wanted to surprise my first born with a gift before she went off to university so I bought a blank journal at Walmart and started writing to her a year before she had to go. I figured a year would give me plenty of time to complete it. Sometimes I didn’t know what to write. Other times I had plenty to say. When we didn’t see eye to eye, I wrote about it, giving her my opinion. At times I wrote about my frustrations with life but most times I wrote about how proud I was of her. I wrote about my regrets of the past and my aspirations for the future. I bared my soul.
I didn’t finish the journal even though I tried to write almost every day. Handwriting takes a lot longer than typing but in this age of emails and texts, I wanted to go back to handwriting and I learned something about myself in the process. I had to think more to avoid making mistakes that couldn’t be deleted. I learned that actual handwriting gives me great joy, much more than typing on a keyboard. I learned that I write more honestly and more creatively when I put pen to paper. I don’t know why this is. I’ve read it’s because we process and synthesize information differently when we write than when we type. I just know that handwriting felt more authentic and enjoyable than if I’d done an online diary. Journalling made me remember how much I enjoyed this pastime of mine and how reading back through the pages of a journal brings back memories in great detail. Facebook posts are the opposite of authentic. Let’s face it. Everyone mostly posts the good stuff.
As for my daughter, she says she reads a little bit of my journal every day and it’s interesting to read my perspective on things. She says it makes her cry sometimes. She says she feels closer to me and she’s glad she has it. And the unfinished pages? Well, she says she’s going to write in them. I hope she shares her writing with me one day.