Monday, September 08, 2008

Journals - Revisited
A Dedication to My Mother

I would share with you again the importance of journaling ones life. My sweet dear mother passed away from this life a few weeks ago. Even though this was a blessing for her and would never wish that she were back with us her previous state of health, I still miss her wit and wisdom. You might be wondering why I have brought up something so personal or even doubt it's relevance to the focus of this blog regarding genealogy. I believe that journals are a great way to help yourself and your family. I would share with you my reasons for this statement.

I was blessed to receive my mother's journal chronicling a portion of her life. As I have read through her journal, I have found many entries that have touched my heart. You might think that it is just because she has recently passed and it very well may be the reason, but I think that her reflections on life will be of great comfort and assistance throughout the rest of my life. For example, I recently returned to the work force in the medical field where I am required to start IV's. When I was younger, this skill was easy for me and I thought nothing of it. I hadn't the need to be starting IV's in the past few years as my job was more administrative requiring less patient contact. As a result, this particular skill had become dormant. As I read through my mother's journal, I noticed that she too had at one time a difficult time starting IV's after she had not worked for several years, but she was able to overcome this challenge with time. This may seem simplistic, but her journaling about her frustrations with work, her challenges with starting IV's has helped me to take heart and not become discouraged with the frustrations that I feel at times.

Journaling should (in my opinion) include the good and the bad. It should give the person reading an understanding of you as a person....not a perfect being as none of us are perfect. I think it is important to write about the warts, and all. As I have read my own journal from when I was in college, I was surprised by the insights that I had at such a young age. I do not mean to say that I was especially gifted, but that it helps you to look at your life from a distance. It helps me to see that I have faced challenges before and have come through them OK. As my mother has said in the past "This, too, shall pass." The only regret that I have is that she did not write more. My mother was a wise and wonderful woman; the perfect partner for my father, who was a brilliant surgeon.

You might think personally, 'I have nothing really exciting to share about my life". I categorically disagree with that train of thought. My mother wrote about her daily activities, but she also commented about the weather, politics, and just the daily happenings. The events in ones life shapes who they are and how they lived, raised their family, where they worked. In short, the events in the life of your parent or ancestor will directly effect who you become. I was sharing with her information from my mother's journal. As we continued to discuss journals, I asked her if she wrote every day in her journal, what she wrote about etc. She told me that she doesn't journal everyday, but when she journals, she begins each entry with the date and time, where she is sitting to write in her journal, the weather for that day, and the headlines for that day. Sometimes that is the entire entry for the day. Other times, she writes more about something that is occurring her life. I have found that at times when my life is busy, I will take a letter that I have written to my family and put it into my journal as it generally contains information regarding my various activities throughout the past week.

Journals are kept for various reasons including a food diary for weight loss, exercise diary to make sure you are progressing forward with your plan, and others. Journals are a way for you to express your creative side, develop a plan for your life, vent your concerns, and in general provide you with a safe place to go for some quiet time and contemplation.

I will get off my soap box for now. I hope that you will consider keeping a journal whether on paper or digitally. Please feel free to share your thoughts or concerns regarding journals in the comment section.


Joni said...

This was a very nice entry Jennifer. I was touched by all of it. Thanks for sharing and be comforted in your loss. This is one area I have ignored for a very long time. Hence, one of the reasons I started to have some history.

Jim B said...

There is another reason to write your own story. Never forget that the day will come when someone of your descendants will wonder about your life. Your children will know enough about you that they may write something from memory. If they don't it will fall to your grandchildren.. And all they will have for references will be their parents recollections, the newspaper archives, and the police reports.
Franky, what the grand kids may find is more than enough to send me running for the word processor....