Monday, August 14, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Prompt 21

Wow it's already 2pm! I'm taking my lunch (and finishing this post I wrote this AM) right now because my productivity at work today has been through the roof and it's… only Monday? I'm either going to blame it on all the strong coffee I've had today or the fact that at breakfast this morning, I bought my plane tickets to Colorado. Colorado! I'm going backpacking in Rocky Mount National Park this coming October. Stay tuned for a blog post about that trip itinerary soon. 

So it's a new week! Hopefully you all had a great weekend. Last night my dad, two younger brothers and I went to see the Sunday night short track races at legendary Slinger Speedway. It's Americana at its finest. It's very loud, very enjoyable and it's a family tradition we do every year. Again, stressing the importance and gratitude of traditions. Around 11pm last night when I got back home, I went for a walk the neighborhood to cap-off the solid weekend. It was so relaxing, and right before I went to bed I pulled out my weekly planner that I have and starting filling the empty day's agendas with all sorts of fun stuff planned for the next upcoming days. I'm looking forward to a fresh week. My gut tells me it's going to be a good, memorable one :). Emojis are okay to use right? Mmhmm. Onwards to day 21 of this '30 Days of Gratitude' prompt. Nine more to go! 

Day 21: What small thing that you use daily are you grateful for? 

Today's prompt I thought was pretty clever and my response was easy- a journal. I catch myself always writing about something. Whether it be a little reminder note on recycled scratch paper, a to-do list at work I make every morning, a post on this blog or a full-blown series of paragraphs in my own journal. I find the greatest satisfaction and joy in writing. To me, it's the most therapeutic and calming way to take whatever's going on in your head and heart, and analyze it through paper and pen. I almost always have a journal with me. There's my travel journal, weathered and battered that comes with me on every outdoor adventure, then my own personal journal that gets its pages scribed and filled up pretty quickly, there's even a tiny notebook in my car I occasionally use at stoplights or if I'm stuck in traffic. Writing is a powerful addiction, and I'm glad I do it

I seriously started getting into writing during the summer of 2007, when I went on a youth mission trip through our local church to a village called San Jose El Tesoro, in Guatemala's Yalpemech region. Every night, I would write a few pages about what we did, what I saw, and how I felt about this unfiltered, raw exposure to life in third-world Guatemala. It was an incredible, incredible trip, and at seventeen years old- it lit my spark for traveling. As the years went by I kept up journaling, on trips near and far, but it was mainly solely about travel writing. Then in, 2011 when I lived in Vietnam for four months in college, one of my best friends with me at the time, Gabe, always had this pocket-size journal that he would carry around with him. He'd write down reflections, conversations with people familiar and strangers, doodles of things he saw-  he did this all the time. Gabe would also accidentally leave it behind at nearly every bar or restaurant that we went to haha. It was purely inspiring seeing how engaged Gabe was with his little diary-style journal. Then in 2013, I decided to give it a shot and went out to my local book store to buy a new journal. I committed that I'd write in it as much as humanly possible. Four years later, today I still find myself writing almost daily. I'll fill the pages with triumphant things, quotes I like, rants, recollections, reflections, raves, song lyrics that struck a note personally, ideas, lists, trip plans and the every-so-often scrapbook-esque memento taped in on a blank page. You know that cliche question of "If you had to grab one thing out of your home if it was on fire, what would it be?" Yep, you bet it'd be my journal.

Writing really helps me. I always encourage other people to start writing in a journal or if they've slacked away from it- get back at it. Pronto. You get a chance to see just how much you've grown and changed for the better when you go back to journals from years ago and reminisce. Plus, that feeling of scribbling the last possible word on a page and having to go buy a new, clean-slate journal is a reward like no other. So try it out, go buy a journal, sit down and just write about what's on your mind, or draw some crazy sketch of something in front of you, or make a list of places you want to visit this fall or brainstorm a series of steps you can follow to make yourself happier, whatever it is- just, write.


On the iPod...