I don’t recommend endlessly circling around a subject. If you find that the same subject crops up again and again, this is your opportunity to write your way out and past that subject.
If you are looking for a way into your journal, timelines and maps are an easy and yes, fun way to track your history. Timelines accomplish two things: 1. Look at my wonderful life! I accomplished so much already!
2. What clues here will help with future decisions?
There is no single timeline, you can create as many or as few as you’d like:
• Events – graduation, holidays, the first day of school
• Physical moments – Like your body changes (easier for women than men)
Spiritual and emotional – First communion, Bar Mitzvah, Weddings
From the timeline, create your own personal map. I am a traveler and create travel journals so I am drawn to the idea of a map. But you may have other ways to explain and describe your path, road, journey and ultimate destination (which, for some, may simply be death which is either terribly morbid or a reminder that it really is the Journey that matters).
When you draw up a map of your life:
Add details and descriptions of each stop on your map, on your road.
What kind of details?
Have a dialogue with someone who gave you directions.
Write about the good directions (for instance, a friend told me flat out, don’t spend seven years earning a PhD. Go play with your husband. He later sent her flowers).
Record the really bad directions and why you did or didn’t follow them.
How did your body feel at each stop, at each detour?
How did your body react to the emotional stops and starts on the map?
Make your own maps.
Used colored pens, used magazine pictures, illustrate like the wonderful maps you find on placemats at morning cafés.
- You are right here.
- What stretched behind?
- What lies ahead?
- Start mapping it out.