A member of our Paperblanks team discovered a great series of videos on YouTube featuring people rereading their childhood journals. This got us thinking: what, if any, is the benefit of reading your old writing material?
As it turns out, there are a lot of lessons to be learned from going back in time in this way. Whether you’re looking to gain some perspective on a lingering emotion or simply looking for a laugh, reading your old journals can offer unparalleled insight into your own thought processes.
Check In on Your Goals
Rereading a past entry can remind you of an old goal that you had set or of a dream that you let slip by. Whether this inspires you to pick up on an old passion or to simply put it to rest, reminding yourself what you once had your sights set on can give further purpose to the moves you are making in life. And who knows, you may realise you have already accomplished a goal without even noticing!
Gain Perspective and Have a Laugh
One of the most dominant themes of the “people reading old journals” videos is laughing at what they thought was a dire situation at the time of writing. This doesn’t mean beating yourself up or feeling ashamed of how you were feeling, but simply that when you are removed from the immediate emotions of a situation you are more likely to see it with clear eyes. Whether you’re laughing at a childhood crush or at your reaction to a silly situation, you will find yourself looking dispassionately at those thoughts and able to let go and move on.
Give Purpose to Future Writing
Even the most ardent journallers ask themselves from time to time, “Why I am writing this? Will anyone ever even read it?” Well, you can be the answer to your own doubts. The purpose of diarising is two-fold: you can unleash current emotions and reflect on past ones. So, reread away and you may find yourself motivated to answer past questions or follow up on issues that continue to affect you.
Find Out What’s Really Important
As you reread your journals, you will likely notice some themes that persist from entry to entry, some of which may surprise you. You may not realise that a certain situation or person really irks you, for example, and by reading your entries collectively you may find the reasons you need to finally confront the problem. On the other hand, you may find yourself especially appreciating the way a loved one makes you feel when you read all the “warm and fuzzy” musings at once.