The sun-kissed photograph sitting on the mantelpiece of my parent’s home is of me at 3-years-old. I'm furiously scribbling in my first journal, wearing my favorite little red dress covered in permanent pen marks. I never get tired of looking at this image of my tiny self, so focused on every pen stroke with all the intensity of an inventor. My mother said I would do this for hours as though writing a grand novel in volumes.
From the first moment I could write legible words I began to keep a journal by my bedside. I would jot down thoughts of the day, even waking in the night to write a sentence by flashlight. My early teenage years brought about the discovery of art journals. Drawing, writing, pasting in photographs and paper reminders of my day. For my 13th birthday journal entry I attempted to glue down 13 birthday candles from a cake my mother made. I remember asking for black candles, she gave up trying to make everything pink, I was heading into my teenage ‘know it all’ years. My deep comfort in journal writing followed me through art school, trips abroad, living away from home, my first apartment, first love, marriage, loss and difficulty. Within the pages of these journals I would learn to focus my thoughts, dreams, goals and work through disappointment. Journals continue to be a crucial part of my mental and spiritual growth; they are time capsules to the soul. They remind me of adventures and mistakes, how I pushed through various stages of life, learned to keep my chin up to reach the person I am today.
Our family has a long tradition of giving blank journals as gifts to mark important moments in life. The plan for travel, New Year’s goals, the birth of a child, new puppy, a promotion, even the tough moments when we're struggling through obstacles and need to focus positive energy. Journals become your friends, healers and teachers. Self-reflection is the key to a fulfilling, meaningful journey through life. It's never too late to start the journal writing tradition, even if it’s the trusted tradition of one.
Journals are irreplaceable documents of the building blocks that form you. My sister and I still get together from time to time and flip through old journals and family photo albums. We laugh, cry, remain in awe at these frozen moments that shaped our future selves. A fond reminder of that bold spark we carried, convinced we would save the world. We still vow, it’s never too late to try.Our thanks to Gina for sharing her lifelong love of journaling. Would you like to share your own story with Epica readers? We’d love to publish yours, too! Please submit to Info@epica.com.