When I look back on my 20s and 30s, I wish I would have journaled more.

There’s no question that getting older has given me perspective. I’ve been blessed enough to have people in my life that love me and friends I respect and trust. I even have business relationships that feel more like family and for that, I am extremely grateful. As I reflect on the past two decades of my life I think, “Where did all the time go?” I think about my two beautiful children that are 3 years old and 2 years old and I know that they’ll be teenagers before I know it.

As a parent, you quickly realize that no matter how hard you try, you can’t protect your children from getting hurt 100% of the time. I am reminded of a scene in Finding Nemo that comes to mind every time I get close to overprotecting my children.

Marlin: I promised I’d never let anything happen to him.
Dory: Hmm. That’s a funny thing to promise.
Marlin: What?
Dory: Well, you can’t never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him. Not much fun for little Harpo.

So, I try hard to remember that the best lessons I have learned in my life came about because of failure. I don’t want to rob my children of the valuable lessons they would learn, but I can’t help but think it would be nice to help them avoid some of the really stupid things I did when I was younger.

Sharing the tough lessons

In my 20s I worried what people would think of me. As I get older I realize that I care less about what people think and I greatly appreciate experience, perspective and intelligence. I’ve also realized those qualities are extremely hard to find. I think about my daughter and son and wish I could take what’s in my brain and just share it with them. If I had written in my journal, I could have.

If you’re thinking about starting a journal, I’d like to share a few ideas  that I wish someone would have told me when I was younger:

  1. A good journal isn’t made up of only monumental moments. Find joy in recording and reflecting on the journey. Short entries are valuable and allow you to finish your thoughts later.
  2. The greatest lessons you will learn will come from recording the mistakes you make. You’ll identify patterns in your decision making and better understand yourself.
  3. Writing about your struggles or the pain you’ve encountered in life helps you get over it sooner.
  4. Be honest with yourself when you write. Laugh at the mistakes you make, learn the lessons, and stay humble.
  5. You don’t have to write every day. A blank journal is intimidating. Take solace in knowing that even a few words will evoke memories when you look back.

Journal writing can be tough. Be proud of yourself if you’re in the habit. Don’t be intimidated or overwhelmed if you can’t get started. Only a few words will get you started and can someday make a world of difference for you and your loved ones.

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