Dora Dueck ended a recent post on her delightful blog Chronicles of Aging with the statement “writing is the way I think and the way I remember.” I could resonate with that completely! Writing about an event, a book, a movie or a trip helps me to process it and to remember it. During a recent clean up of his home my father found two small daily diaries that belonged to my maternal grandmother. Grandma’s journals made me suspect that the need to write about life experiences is something I may have inherited.
Someone I know who is trying to help a partner struggling with memory loss is encouraging them to keep a journal. There is evidence that journaling not only improves memory but also helps your emotional and mental health.
I often consider whether it may be time to stop writing this blog, to end a nearly 35 year assignment as a newspaper columnist or to take a hiatus from other long standing writing gigs. But I think even if I did give up those public forms of recording and reflecting I would need to journal privately in order to keep on living in a meaningful way. I know many people who have other ways of thinking through things and remembering them- whether it is through photos they take, sketches they do, discussions they have, songs they compose, collections of memorabilia they treasure, time spent in meditation, scrap booking or prayer. But for me writing is the way I think and remember.