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  • Hiba Awais

The Art of Journaling

In an effort to suppress my boredom during spring break, I made it my mission to clean my horrific mess of a closet. Beneath heaps of clothes and forgotten knick-knacks, I found a box filled to the brim with my old journals. 

Since middle school, taking a few minutes to jot down my thoughts has been my nightly ritual. There’s relief in pouring out whatever’s on my mind, whether it’s impending deadlines, the happenings of my day, or simply gushing about my favorite things. Although I rarely reread my past journal entries, I spent a considerable amount of time last week deciphering my handwriting and piecing together what I had written over the years. Between the pages and pages of over-dramatics, endless rantings, and overthinking I realized that more often than not, history repeats itself. 

Now I know this phrase has been engraved into our brains by history teachers, but it wasn’t until my epiphany that I realized the weight of it. Obviously, the conflicts of our lives rarely repeat, but the way we react to them tends to stay the same. More often than not, we experience the same emotional turmoil over different minor inconveniences or existential crises. 

Drawing parallels between my past worries and current ones was very eye-opening. Sure the events from then versus now are different, but my response to them hasn't really changed. For example, I still tend to meticulously overthink minor things even though it won’t get me anywhere.

Seeing my old handwriting and reading my thoughts brought me a sense of comfort too. It’s hard to see the bigger picture when you’re living it, but most of the time our stressors are temporary. That exam you’re stressing about is over after you take it. The person you’re having issues with will talk things out with you eventually. That embarrassing thing you did is just one page in this chapter of your life. 

It’s important to remember that we’re just people with ups and downs. In my opinion, journaling is one of the best ways to release your emotions. There’s clarity to piecing together words to describe your feelings. Even if it’s jotting down bullet points in your notes app, you should keep track of the ups and downs of your life. Maybe your past rationalizations are the key to overcoming your current issues. 

Personally, after sifting through pages of restless nights and needless overthinking, I’m going to find different ways to overcome my difficulties. I’m grateful to have a box full of “what to do and what not to do” collecting dust in my closet because it might save me from repeating the same mistakes one day.


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