“This pouring thoughts out on paper has relieved me. I feel better and full of confidence and resolution.” – Diet Eman
Journaling expert Dawn Herring invited me to write a blog post on life lessons that I’ve gained from journaling. The most important lesson I’ve learned from journaling is a way of living, which includes my efforts to be a Woman Making Strides.
Ironically, it was probably the example set by two men that planted the seeds for my desire to be proactive. Dad was a dedicated family man and had a great sense of humor. He would sit with a handkerchief on his head until my kids noticed and laughed. However, he was always overweight, and when he was elderly, he had diabetes and heart problems. I would bring him to doctors, and they would tell him to lose weight. Near the end of his life, he had intense pain due to a toe deadened by gangrene, but could not have surgery because of his high risk factors. He died in 2009 from a heart attack.
Then there was my friend Bob, who was the same age as Dad. Bob was passionate about his sports of running and triathlon. He competed in Ironman competitions (2½-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and a 26-mile run.) Bob was in his seventies when he coached my running group, and he ran back and forth between the slowest and fastest runners. I learned a lot from him and his enthusiasm.
Reflecting in my journal about these very different lifestyles made me realize that people have choices in how they live. I had choices in how to live. Would I keep running or would I be sedentary? Did I want to keep my weight in check? What else did I want in my life?
Much as I admire Bob, who is now in his mid-eighties and still doing Ironmans, I didn’t want to live like him or my Dad. When Bob was working and raising his family, he woke up at 3:00 in the morning to get his long runs in. Fitness and preparing for races are a major focus in his life. He eats his favorite ice cream only after running a marathon.
When I sat down and journaled about these two nearly opposite ways of living, I realized that I wanted a balance somewhere between what these men demonstrated. I wanted to do what I could to have good health without it being a major focus of my life. After journaling more, I started to exercise a few hours a week and try to keep my weight within healthy guidelines, while allowing myself occasional treats. (OK, more than occasional.)
I’ve learned from both of these older men; for instance, from my Dad’s a sense of humor. I remember him joking, “Don’t be a chicken all your life!” He’d grin as he said this, but I remember his words, even when I debated whether or not to write this blog post.
Through journaling, I continued to shape my personal mission statement. I realized the need to take care of my mind and spirit to attain the balance that I want. We all have trials, so why not accept mine, rather than complain and act like a victim? And I wanted to make a difference in the world during my short time here. This statement below is what I came up with through journaling:
“A woman who makes strides appreciates being alive and takes active steps to care for her body, mind, and spirit. She accepts challenges along her path and uses her God-given talents to better the world.”
At first, this mission statement was solely for me, but as I started blogging about it, other women expressed interest in this way of life. I’ve not been perfect, but I’m making progress. If you are a Woman Making Strides, please join in so we can learn from you.
What life lessons have you learned from journaling? Do you have a mission statement for your life?
Find journaling resources at Dawn Herring’s website at www.dawnherring.net.