capturing the small joys

28 October 2014

Growing up, I was an avid journaler. I have stacks of notebooks and diaries in my old closet at my mom’s house chronically all the joys, hardships, and every. stupid. little. crush I’ve ever experienced up through high school. College through present are packed in a box in my current closet.

I have to admit though, over the years, I’ve stopped journaling. Yes, partially due to blogging. But also because I was noticing a trend. I really only ever wrote in my journal to complain. Or, annoyingly so, go on and on about whatever guy I was interested at the time (and how it went horribly wrong!)…

I actually got so frustrated with this trend and I decided to make a change. I took a massive sharpie and blacked out things from my past I just didn’t want to hold on to. No, I didn’t get rid of all the bad — we need some of that to grow. But there were things that were simply not worth my time while they were happening let alone keeping forever in my journal.

But after the Great Deleting of about 3 years ago… I just never got back into the habit.

I wanted to journal. But I wanted it to mean something. I’m fortunate enough to have some amazing and inspirational people as friends. And I’m always impressed with how they’re able to take their writing online further. Though I’ve never seen their journals, or even know if they actually do keep one, I always imagined with these tome full of deep and insightful prose.

And I wanted that too. I wanted to write things beyond the stagnate every day blergh. Something my great grandkids (or, possibly more likely) my great grand-nieces and nephews, could read and be fascinated and captivated and inspired by…. But, well, the fact of the matter is, I lead a pretty simple life.

Yeah, I enjoy it. I most definitely enjoy and like my life. But it is what it is.  … Yet… I still wanted to create a good and positive habit of journaling. So, I decided to do this…

Each day, I write down at least 1 positive moment from that day. It doesn’t have to be any thing grand — in fact, on some days it’s as simple as “lazy day” or “cuddles with Tuija” — but as long as I capture one good thing from the day, I’ve done my job.


Despite my desire to be profound, I’ve found a great joy in just capturing part of each day down on paper. Rather than pages and pages of the worrisome dribble that I apparently was fond of in the past, I could focus on the good. I could try to keep tabs on my dreams and goals. But more importantly, I would give precedence to the good things.

I’ve been doing this for 86 days now. And in this daily capturing of small joys and good things, I’ve noticed my base line attitude is pretty good. All I have to do is focus at things one day at a time. Whatever else is going on, there’s always at least one thing good in each day. No day is ever at a loss.

And while no, it’s still not this grand venture in journaling that I wanted… it’s had a pretty grand thing for my life. Maybe that’s all the reward I need.

Do you journal? Do you keep up with it every day?

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  • B.

    I don’t journal, but I was never really into it even as a kid. I just do my blogging! But I think it’s a great idea to focus on the positive. It’s something we should all try and do more!

  • Kendall Ashley

    I used to be an avid journaler, but I’ve kind of gotten out of it. Still I always, always carry a journal around with me, just in case I want to start back up–ha! I love focusing on positive stuff in journaling. Such a healthy habit!

    • I’m starting to feel like it’s a common thing for jounralers — to sort of go through phases of keeping at it and just letting it go… I love that you keep one with you! I sometimes try to keep a notebook with me, just to capture random thoughts… but have been bad about keeping up with that. Just doesn’t feel the same when you’re doing it on your cell phone.

      • Kendall Ashley

        It totally doesn’t. There’s something great about pen and paper.

  • goldgraeberin

    Thanks for the Reminder! My journal is full of dramas, and maybe I just need a different focus. In 2012 I I wrote a gratitude journal, it was very helpful and life-changing

    • A gratitude journal is great!! I know I’ve thought about that before, but never actually started one. Maybe I should include those in my daily jots.

  • I also journaled extensively as a youngster, and more recently in college I did a project I called my “Jar of Awesome” where I wrote about only positive things. I recently went back and reread it and it made me super happy, so I might try to start that up again! Thanks for the reminder.

    • “Jar of Awesome” sounds like an amazing project! I love it!

  • I’ve been wanting to get into journaling, but maybe in a simplified, one thought a day way like you’re doing. I really need something to help me focus on the positive these days.

    • It’s definitely helped me. I give myself the freedom to write more, but if I notice it starting to become mostly me complaining about something, then it’s time to put the pen away. When I look back at these years, I want the good to shine through.

  • I recently started keeping a journal like this, too. It’s been particularly beneficial on “bad days” because I can still muster up a few good things and remind myself that I shouldn’t dismiss the entire day as a bad one just because I had a negative experience. I keep a separate journal for the blah things, though I don’t use it just to complain like I have in the past (I have tons of old journals that sound like the description you gave). If I’m going through something or feeling bad, I first figure out why I’m feeling that way and approach the situation with curiosity and write through it… so I end up resolving my own problem most of the time. It’s a nice form of therapy for me.

    Totally didn’t intend for this comment to be so lengthy, haha.

    • I’ve known a lot of people who toss out days or weeks just because of a few bad or negative experiences. That stuff wears on you, and starts seeping out. It’s one thing to vent now and again, but you can’t let every single little bad thing get to you. That second journal you described is a good one, though. For me, sometimes if I just talk things out loud, I’m able to work through them and let them go. Same thing with writing. It’s just how some people process things. And it’s good to deal with those things.

      And long comments totally welcome any time. 🙂

  • Mindy Nickel

    I love this idea! It’s so easy to wallow in negative emotions. Focusing on the positive seems like a great way to let go of hard feelings. I used to journal when I actively wrote fiction, but I never really kept a personal journal. I might start now!

    • Thanks!! It’s definitely been making things easier. There are also some good “prompted” journals for things like this… One Line A Day type things, or the Happiness Project journal. Those ones tend to let you capture something each day over 5 years, so you can see how you’ve progressed. It’s pretty neat. 🙂

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