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Starting a new journal

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It’s time for a new journal. Fortuitously, the pages on the ’05 journal ended just as the year itself did. Rarely is life so tidy. Somewhere in this house is an empty journal that I had bought in advance. I like the hard-bound composition books. Back in my high school years, when I kind of fell i…
By Seth Barnes

It’s time for a new journal. Fortuitously, the pages on the ’05 journal ended just as the year itself did. Rarely is life so tidy. Somewhere in this house is an empty journal that I had bought in advance. I like the hard-bound composition books. Back in my high school years, when I kind of fell into the journal-keeping habit, I used spiral-bound notebooks and found that the spiral part began to uncoil and the cover began to detach itself.
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Admittedly, I’m tough on journals – I often carry them to church and when the sermon is boring, write essays. But they get beat up going back and forth places. A couple of years ago, coming home from church, I left my Bible and journal on top of the car. That was brilliant. They actually made it for the first half mile or so, and then when we retraced our steps, there were pictures and notes scattered along the side of the road. I found the Bible, but the journal is probably still hiding in some bush.

The composition book journal takes my abuse pretty well. If I go longer than half a year with one, the binding begins to fray and I have to administer duct tape to keep it going. In my closet, I keep a box spilling over with old journals – my life converted to ink. So often, as we reflect on our past stupidity, we ask ourselves, “What was I
thinking?” My box of journals answers the question.

So on New Year’s Eve when I went hunting for a new journal and came up empty-handed, I decided to improvise. There on a shelf was a composition book labeled “Estie.” Inside is one page of notes – it was a false start for her. It now says, “2006 Journal.” I took it over.

Yesterday I was talking to my friend Mark about journal-keeping. I quoted Socrates, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” If you need help living that life, journals are a great tool.

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