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The Value of Journaling

I enjoy writing. I like to think I am good at writing—at least people tell me that I am. Way back when I actually earned a degree in writing (Journalism). So it’s not surprising that those around me assume that I journal on a regular basis.


OK, correction #1: Around age 8 I had one of those leather-bound diaries with the little key in which I briefly wrote about the exciting goings-on in my childhood.

Correction #2: I never journaled…until I turned to it, out of frustration and desperation related to issues surrounding my elderly mother. I now know that at the time I started writing (2011!!) I was beginning to see the aging challenges that would lead to where we are today. Perhaps most telling is the first line of my first official entry (9-18-11, to be specific): “Feeling pretty overwhelmed.”

What has followed has been a solid 6-plus years of entries, scrawled on yellow legal pads, some splotched with Starbucks coffee. Not to segue, but it’s interesting to note here that many of my entries start out with “At Starbucks-Metro,” “At downtown Starbucks,” “Sunday a.m. at airport Starbucks.” So perhaps at some point these entries will make it into a book entitled, “My Life at Starbucks.”

Anyway, what I have today is a rubber banded stack of six yellow legal pads chronicling the ups and downs of life BEFORE I knew I had a big problem.

Ironically, I am back to journaling less often. It’s almost like coming out of the fog. The frustration and confusion over not knowing what was going on has given way to a new reality. It may not be pretty, but as “they” say, it’s better to know than not know.

Are you confused by changes you see in your elderly loved one? I challenge you to grab a legal pad (yellow or otherwise) and just start writing. Just one sentence. Just one paragraph. Just for your eyes.

I am so happy I have this raw, totally honest account of everything that went on. I’m not sure why, but I know that looking back, so much has become clear to me. Yes, I probably made Starbuck rich, but it was SO much cheaper than therapy!

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