The Best Birthday Present I’ve Ever Received

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It’s my birthday month.  March.  I’m a stereotypical Aries.  In honor of another year of life, I will now reveal to you the best birthday gift I’ve ever received, which is still paying dividends.

In March 2015, my dad gave me a gift that would pay off for the following five years…longer, really.  It was actually something I asked for and because his love language is gifts, he was shocked to find out the only thing I wanted was less than $15.  I had been to a retreat the month prior – the kind where you don’t shower and hang out with your girlfriends for two days eating desserts with chia seeds in them while wearing yoga pants – and heard someone talking about how they had one and I knew I needed one too!

It was a five year journal.  The one pictured below to be exact.

The book is somewhat small in size and intended for the owner to write one line per day over the course of five years (if you know me, you know I try to squeeze in more than one line per day).  When you open the book it starts on January 1 and has five sections on that one page.  It says “20__” so you can note the year followed by a handful of lines to capture your “one line” for that day.  You work your way through the whole year/book, and the following year you start again on page 1 on the second section down.  So if you’re writing on year 2, 3, 4, and 5 you can see what you wrote on that day in the prior years.  It’s magic I tell you!

My birthday is March 25 but we got together for my birthday on March 28 that year, so my first official entry is March 28, 2015.  I decided to let it go that I wouldn’t have entries from Jan 1 – Mar 27 for the first year and just started the day I got it and committed to doing it every day for five years.  You know I love a lofty goal <<wink>> and you know I learned from Gals with Goals that the 4 years and 10 months of entries would be better than waiting 10 months to start on January 1 while losing a year just so it would be “perfect.”

So I’ve been doing it.  Jotting down a line a day.  Sometimes three words, sometimes squeezing in three sentences.  That journal officially holds my secrets.  Unlike other journals, I’ve decided to write with abandon – which means if it was a shitty day…the journal says it was a shitty day.  And if it was a day like no other where blessings felt abundant…it captures that sentiment too.  It holds pages upon pages of notes regarding late work nights.  It holds pages of big life moments when family members got new jobs, moved, started businesses, and accomplished big things.  It holds pages of excuses of why I couldn’t work out.  It holds notes about personal losses or days that felt longer than I’d hoped.  It holds the everyday-ness…the “Chris did this today” and the “I did that today” and the weeks that feel somewhat on repeat.  It holds the details of vacations and how I hated mountain biking in Utah.  It holds notes about new restaurants we’ve tried in other states, that I wouldn’t have otherwise remembered.  It holds “if I could just get this thing finished this week I’d be happy…” phrases.  It notes how often I eat at Northstar café.  It holds a years worth of doubts when trying to publish my book.  It gives a play by play on the construction of my dad’s golf building.  It reminds me how much of my life I spend in meetings.  It holds the sweet every day stories of me and Chris in 365 pages.

As I start on the third section, which means I’m into year three – it is one of the most eye opening and honest check-ins with myself I’ve probably experienced even though I’ve had a love affair with journaling since third grade.  It makes me realize every February I get sick around the same week.  And how many days I note what I weigh and how I need to get back in the gym.  And how many big opportunities we’ve had in our jobs.  And how much stays the same while so many things change.

You don’t have to be a writer or blogger or professional journal-er to do this.  Don’t over think it.  If you had pizza for dinner and the only thing you can think about is the pizza  you had for dinner, let your one line say “pizza for dinner, yum” and move on to the next day.  You may just very well learn how many days you actually eat pizza for dinner.

This journal has officially become my go-to gift for people now, most commonly as a wedding gift.  If I could go back and start this thing the day Chris and I got married…what a gift!

So hop on Amazon or hit up Barnes & Noble, forget about the fact that it’s March and you already missed a couple months, and go write your one-line-a-day!  You can thank me in five years!