“Day one of 366.”

This is the first sentence of my 2016 journal. In all honesty, I can’t remember why I decided to start a journal this year. Then again, I didn’t remember that this year was a leap year until I re-read that first sentence, so perhaps my memory in these matters shouldn’t be trusted. I digress…

I’ve been reading through old journal entries a lot recently as my first semester of university — and the year 2016 — come to a close. Up until June, when I graduated from high school, I wrote daily entries. During the summer and my first semester of university, my entries became more spaced out; I wrote one today that was my first in over two weeks. At different points in the year, writing in my journal meant different things to me. Some days it was a place to reflect on what had happened during the day; others, it was a place to outline my dreams for the future.

When I want to relive a day, or remember something that happened, I’ll immediately flip through my journal to find that entry. I love re-reading old entries, because they remind me of the smaller details surrounding big moments in my life. Of course I remember the excitement I felt on the day I was accepted into my first-choice university program; but when I go back to my journal entry from that day, I remember other details, like that I stayed home sick the day before, and that I bought my prom dress the day after.

This year was a really awesome one for me, with lots of exciting moments and milestones. Thinking back about some of those moments, I know I have written emotional journal entries about them. One of my favourite pages in my journal is the day when I got a phone call from the president of my university to inform me that I had been selected as a recipient of a special entrance scholarship. It was the day after prom, but I didn’t write about prom for an entire page because I was so excited about the scholarship. I don’t think I would forget that moment anyways, but having all the details written out makes me positive that I’ll always remember it.

If you don’t have a resolution for 2017, I encourage you to try writing a journal. You don’t have to write every day — though it is cathartic to write daily, and such a treat to be able to look back on specific days of your life. You could write weekly, or whenever you feel like it. The most important thing, in my opinion, is simply that you write. If you’ve never written a journal before, it may seem strange at first; but eventually it’ll feel as natural as typing out a text to a friend (and if it helps, just imagine that’s what you’re doing!).

Soon, day 366 will be here. And even before that day comes, as I begin reflect on 2016, I am so glad I have my journal to help me remember everything that happened this year.