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  • Writer's pictureDavid Eatin

How Journaling Saved Me: A Personal Story

It really is incredible how the mind can wander. We live in a time where distractions are as abundant as ever, with everything and everyone constantly trying to grab for our attention.

It’s never been easier to get lost in this whirlwind of stimuli, especially now as the singularity draws nearer and nearer each day.


It’s so funny, that concept just re-entered my world for the first time since my college days. The Singularity... I wrote a paper on the subject after reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? That whole concept really rocked my world for quite some time. Now that the role of technology has really taken off, I think it's only fair to revisit this concept. At least a little bit.


It's pretty incredible how I've pushed a lot of those thoughts out of my mind as I was trying my best to survive in the "Real World". Or maybe I just finally came to terms that some things are just better left unknown... Ignorance is bliss... But enough with my arcane ramblings, I guess I should be getting to the subject at hand.



 


How Journaling Saved Me: A Personal Story


I've been keeping a journal now for almost 3 years, and I've found this practice to be one of the most beneficial tools in my arsenal. It's incredible to me how the simple act of writing has created such an impact in my day to day life. My goal for this post is to share my personal relationship with writing, and the many positive impacts it has given me on my life's journey.


To begin, I was never much of a writer growing up. English was my worst subject in grade school. Hands down. It never clicked with me. I never really understood the written rules of grammar, or how to properly write a sentence.  I used “and” a lot, and would constantly get marked down for run on sentences.


I liked to write more similarly to how I like to think. Stringing ideas together in the same way they would come and go from my train of thought. Like a stream of consciousness.

At that time, I never had plans to write for anyone other than myself. I didn’t really care if my writing made sense to others. I was more concerned about being able to understand where I was coming from, and more importantly, how I was feeling. Marking down reminders of what was prompting me to write at the time. As if leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for future me to pick up and piece together.


I have very little saved of my academic writing from K-12. Honestly, I’m pretty sure I burned most of it. That’s something my friends and I liked to do at the end of the school year. A ritual binder burning. We kept what we felt was important, I guess. When it comes to school handouts, I don’t think that left us with much. But I digress.


I remember being taught the importance of journaling in my later elementary years.

I vaguely remember being assigned to keep a journal for a few weeks. At that time I thought it was pretty dumb. I mean seriously, who would want to read about the dramas of a sixth grader? Especially when I knew that I would vividly remember every little detail of my life leading up to that point *eye roll*


I’m not sure when It really hit me, that all familiar feeling of running out of time.

I think that’s a part of growing up that’s different for everybody. Looking back, I really wish that I had taken the time to write more extensively about the monotony of my earlier years.

It could've been somewhat insightful to revisit those times that were so seemingly simple, yet so incredibly explosive in their own right.


It wasn’t until May of 2021 that I began to journal regularly. I had just turned 26 and was gifted a journal for my birthday. I can’t thank that person enough for such a thoughtful gift.


My first entry begins:


“It’s so strange. Writing down my thoughts again after so many years of silence. I feel like this time it will stick though. A lot has been going on in my life and I feel like now is as good of a time as ever to organize my thoughts in a journal. It was only a week ago that I first picked up this journal and suddenly felt the urge to cry. I’m taking that as a sign.”


Reading this now, I’m shook.

That was only a couple of years ago, and since then so much change and growth has taken place.




After college, I was left in really bad shape. My mental health was at an all time low. Most days I could hardly shake the ever present sense of defeat. I truly felt like a goner, a lost cause. My mind was strangled in what felt like an endless stream of negative self talk. Things were just not looking bright inside of my head.


I began to rebuild a sense of purpose once I started screen printing again.

Isn’t that incredible? How just physically being in a space where you're doing what you love can make such a difference. It was there, at Studio 23, that I put together this website and started this blog. That is also where I wrote my first journal entry a couple of years later.


Those early blog entries were very therapeutic for me. They were essentially public journal entries. Letting everyone know my thoughts as I was trying to transition into more creative pursuits. As therapeutic as it was, it also began to get very stressful. Like, I was forcing myself into trying to put something out every month, and in the end it just wasn’t very sustainable. I really did enjoy sharing my thoughts with the world. But in life there are some things that are better kept private. Obviously...


Keeping a private journal has been by far the biggest game changer in my recent life. From the get go, the thoughts just began to pour. There were some days that I could write for hours at a time. Documenting my life events and my thoughts about them. I knew from the start that this would be something that I needed to do consistently, and to this day I do my best to write at least a paragraph everyday.



I'd like to start wrapping up this entry with a quote from Benjamin Franklin, who once said:


“Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75”


I think there’s a lot of truth to that.




I say that journaling saved my life, and I mean it.

It has helped me tremendously in finding my voice again. Something I thought I might’ve lost forever. It has also helped pave the way into finding my own truth again, and regain my sense of self. Something that I hope I will never let any person or thing take from me again.


 

Thanks for taking the time to read, as always. I hope this post may have offered some inspiration to discover the benefits of journaling for yourself.


I wanted to close by saying they call it “spelling” for a reason. Words are magic in their own right, and it’s pretty incredible what can be manifested by simply writing them down. With that being said, I think my next post will be on spirituality and what that means to me.


Wishing each and everyone the best that 2024 has to offer.

Big congrats that we've made it this far.

What a time to be alive.


Cheers,

-David

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