Leave a Legacy – Keep a Personal Journal

Few things in life shed more light on who we are, what we believe, and lessons we have learned, than our personal journals. There is not a life that does not have meaning.
Whether you refer to it as a daily log, journaling, writing, keeping a diary, or taking daily notes; write down the events of your life along with the feelings, thoughts, and lessons learned.
As mundane as you think your life might be, there are people out there who will benefit immensely from your experiences. Descendants who read your words, opinions, and learn of your interests will discover much about themselves as they read your story. Far more is passed on through the genes than physical characteristics. Your children and children’s children will cherish the opportunity to take a glimpse into the past through your eyes. They will relate to your likes and dislikes and begin to understand themselves a little better.
Sharing your triumphs along with your defeats inspires and encourages those who come after you – as well as yourself – to keep on going. Life can be long, it is often difficult, and we don’t always make good choices along the way. By sharing those experiences in your personal journal – you empower others to make wiser choices. You can actually reach down into the generations and have influence. How cool is that?
I don’t come from a family that kept journals. Most of my ancestors did not leave anything of that nature behind – so we are left to guess about what their lives were like. My husband comes from a family that wrote fabulous entries in their journals. I have been so engrossed in reading about them. They included poetry, books they liked, philosophies they ascribed to, religious beliefs, and the general history of the world around them. They shared their experiences – both tough and tender. As I have poured through their journals – I feel a deep kinship to them. I look forward to meeting them one day. I’m so glad they wrote. I am also very envious of my husband for the rich resource he was left with.
I remember my father-in-law talking about his grandpa and what a mean man he was – he was heard saying, “never seen a meaner man”. Then one day I picked up the mean man’s journal and read it. I loved reading about his life. I found out that while crossing the plains in a large company of wagon trains, he was abandoned by his mother and father. He was 14 years old at the time and he shared how hard that was for him and somehow he just never got over it. He admitted that he had a temper and wasn’t always the nicest of sorts – but wished he was and always worked on it. Who wouldn’t have anger issues after being abandoned?
He wrote beautifully, including many of his own poems. I decided he wasn’t a mean man at all – at least not in his heart; and that he should be remembered for something other than “the meanest man ever”. I began sharing stories about his life with his great grandchildren at various family gatherings. They became interested and began reading about his life themselves. It was wonderful to hear respect and even pride enter in to conversations about him. If it hadn’t been for this man’s journal – he would still be remembered for the worst in him instead of the best.
Being an avid writer – I try to be mindful about what I write. I try to include the things that are going on in the world and how they affect me. I try to include the latest inventions and how they are changing everyday life. Of course, I try to write the good, bad and the ugly – just because – that is what life is made of. I also remember that because I am writing – I will have the last word on what I am really all about.
Every life is important – every life has value – leave a legacy and write about yours.