These are my Life Journals. In October 2015, I bought my first one (blue one on the left). I kept hearing that journaling was a good habit for various reasons, but never took it that seriously until one day I finally cracked down and got one. I go through a journal every ~1.5 months.

Once I run out of space, I buy a new one.

Supposedly, journaling is supposed to help clear your mind. It’s supposed to help you get your thoughts out of your head. A journal is a place to store your thoughts for future reference, but also a release valve for your thoughts regardless of future reference.

I sometimes refer to my journals. They tend to be pretty disorganized.

There’s a loose criteria for what makes it from my brain into my journal. I use it as a tool for different purposes, and they are always changing.

Sometimes I simply write down the things I have to do that day. Sometimes I write down every thought on my mind and it turns out to be an unintelligible ball of text.

I write what feels important. Often, it ends up being a simple theme or word that seems relevant to my life. Sometimes I just feel compelled to write down a certain thought. For most of these thoughts, I don’t ever refer back to them.

I only have one rule when it comes to my journal.

Don’t fake reality.

My journal is a place I am not allowed to tell lies. Only honesty flies in there. Sometimes I’ll be in the middle of writing, and I’ll realize that what I’m saying is a lie. As soon as I realize it, I correct myself and write about that. There’s no bullshitting myself when I’m writing in my journal.

We lie to ourselves, often without even knowing what’s happening. We accept false shortcuts as truths because it’s easier to tell ourselves stories than it is to think through the reality of what’s happening.

Most of the time, honesty brings out our own faults clearly. It’s hard to admit our own faults, and so it’s hard to be honest.

But nobody sees my journal, so it doesn’t matter in there.

Journaling has given me a place to be honest with myself. It’s given me a place to put my most important and meaningful thoughts, and a place to admit when I don’t know why they’re meaningful yet.

Journaling has given me a way to flip back through my life story. Every once in awhile I’ll get sucked into one of my old journals and just flip from page to page. Most of it is very familiar–some of it seems foreign.

All of it is part of my story.

If my apartment was burning down, that stack of journals is the first thing I would grab. They carry the story of my most honest self, and that growth is more valuable to me than anything else I own.