Self-Care Challenge (Day 355): Reading Old Journals

A stack of journals

On day 355 of my 366-day self-care challenge, I read my old journals.

I admit that I haven’t been very good at doing this over the years: re-reading my old journal entries. The truth is, there are usually at least a few experiences that I’d prefer not to relive. The disappointments. The losses. The bury-your-head-in-the-sand embarrassing moments of life. We all have them.

So instead, my journals typically get tucked away into a dark corner of the closet.

But this year my brilliant coach wisely suggested that they be used as a learning tool. I mean, why shouldn’t I put them to good use? I spent hours and hours and hours pouring my heart and soul into them, after all.

So today, my self-care activity was to re-read my journals from 2016. Sure, there are still a few more days left in the calendar year, but most of my recent entries have been reflective in nature, and will probably make more sense if I read them at the end of 2017.

I had no idea how such a simple act could feel so empowering.

It seems I’ve been busy this year. Traveling, taking classes, visiting friends and family, celebrating life’s special moments, writing, and dreaming up copious ideas – some of which I experimented with and some I left on the page.

But it turns out that many of my journal entries have become a reality. I set out to widen my network, to make new friends, to build connections with others who are working toward similar goals. And I’ve done that. Even as an extreme introvert, I’ve done that.

I published a book, something that’s been on my bucket list for years. I sold more than I expected to, and I’ve received encouraging words from many readers.

It’s clear that writing is an undeniable part of my soul.

I’ve also managed to keep up with this self-care challenge. For 355 days now, I’ve been intentionally engaging in some form of self-care. I’ve been experimenting with activities to see which ones are restorative, and which ones feel like work. (To be honest, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to make it a full year, but it’s been so rewarding that I’ve pushed myself through the rough days even when I really felt like quitting.)

It was hard not to smile as I read through the many twists and turns of my life. In these 12 short months, I’ve considered many different business models, product offerings, and life paths. Some doors opened. Some doors closed. And some I’m still yanking on. But I have to admit, I’m almost more grateful for the doors that have closed because they’ve prevented me from drifting back to where I started this amazing journey.

Much of what I’ve written about over the past year isn’t new. These thoughts, desires, and ideas have been with me for years. I bet if I cracked open a journal from my college years, I’d find many of the same words scrawled across the pages.

My heart seems to know what it wants; my brain just isn’t always open to listening. But with “openness” as one of my theme words for 2017, I have a feeling things will be different.

What is your heart telling you that it wants?

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