LIFE GOES ON: Keep a Journal? WHY?


When I was 11, I asked my parents for a diary, having just read “The Diary Of Anne Frank.” I had the remarkable gift of visiting her house in Amsterdam, many years later. She inspired me to write, and I have been a diarist and writer ever since. What started as “Today I went to school. Candy and I climbed trees and played until time for supper.” turned into pages of daily thoughts of what happened in my day, my feelings about my first crush, Dana, and the events of the day. The landing of men on the moon, my (drugless) Woodstock weekend with 7 college/high school friends), and the cost of milk, gasoline, cigarettes. My high school/college years until now. Priceless proof of history in my lifetime.

I rarely read these books, but they are an integral part of me. The value to me is not in in the re-reading. It is all in the writing.

In the moment, I have had a confident, an outlet to express my  thoughts and feelings and hopes and dreams and fears and goals and losses and triumphs. Anytime I want. I am writing to no one but myself. For no reason but to let go/ express/release/ carthart. 

What a gift. In the back of these books, I keep lists of the books I’ve read, the movies I’ve seen, the plays I’ve attended, and the concerts I have loved. Recipes, new ideas, new friends, travel. I chronicle what matters in my life. I can read back in awe and see my own life path. It’s amazing how our memory distorts! The diary is proof!

Try it? Get a hardcover blank book and write. Blank page. Write “Today I…” That’s all it takes to start. Your new confidant. Your own book. Your own time. Completely confidential. Keep it in a secret place, away from all others. For your eyes only. Freedom to say/express/release joy, anger, hatred, vengeance, forgiveness, hope, excitement, dreams. Write, draw, make lists of hopes and dreams and goals.

Just write.


Kathleen Cairns, Psy.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in West Hartford, Connecticut. She works with adults, adolescents, and couples. You may call her at 860-236-5555 to make an appointment. She is the author of “The Psychotherapy Workbook.”  You may email her at and she will try to answer as many of your questions as possible.

Life goes on… and every day matters…


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1 Comment on "LIFE GOES ON: Keep a Journal? WHY?"

  1. Why is this relevant to consumer information?

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