Dad Stuff, Part 2: Journal Choices

I love journaling. I love a good journal. But not actually. Journaling stresses me out. I read about why it’s so great. Good for clearing the mind. Get the thoughts out of the brain and onto paper. I read how studies show people who journal report less stress. I saw an article about a family that found a box of their father’s old journals and they turned it into a book. They cried and laughed at learning more about their Dad than they ever knew while he was alive.

So. Much. Pressure.

Journal every day, they say. Don’t edit. Write for 20-minutes even if you don’t know what you want to write about.

If my kids looked at the current page of my journal they would see the following…

  • “Benefits Center and Cobra Benefits, (877) 784-2855”
  • “Marcy”
  • “HR4U”

If they flipped a page back they’d see a list of names (“Jay/Ken/Jeff”) and a random sequence of numbers (“421 457 621”). I don’t know what any of that means? Why, why, why did I use my journal to jot down random to-do’s?!?!?!

A page before that I began a journal entry with, “Stop reading books.” And above that I wrote, “I have this overwhelming feeling that my family is going to starve and we’re going to lose everything.”

Burn. This. Journal. Somewhere I’ve journaled, maybe more than once, that I think dinosaurs were actually alien cattle and they were dropped off on Earth to graze, and when the had eaten all the plant life, the aliens took their cattle to another planet with vegetation.

“Hey. We found Dad’s old journals.”  Four days later, “he never journaled about the people he murdered, but Dad obviously was a serial killer.”

Must. Start. A. New. Journal.

If my kids find the 11 journals I’ve been keeping since college, they’ll think their father was a lunatic. Maybe I am. Thanks, journaling.

And I can never decide what kinda journal I want. I like my current Moleskin. Two of my journals are composition books. I have a cool one (a third full) that’s leather bound and says “Seize the Day” on the cover. But now my friend Nick bought an old-timey journal that looks like it was found on a pirate ship. I think I want that. I’m sure I would journal less-crazy things if I had a journal that looked old. Right?


journalMostly, I wish I had journals like Indiana Jones and his father, Sean Connery. They sketch things. They take notes and draw maps. They contain the secrets of the universe and God. The Joneses, and lots of people in movies with journals, remember things at important times and then furiously thumb through their journals to find what they wrote down and then frantically show other people and say things like, “see …Chester Copperpot …pieces of eight!!!  Eight is the number needed to make the flux capacitor work. Great Scott!!!”

Me? I can frantically show someone the number for Cobra Benefits should they ever quit a job and need super expensive health insurance.


I’m nearing the last page of my Moleskin and I’ll need a new journal. This time, it’s going to look cool, be filled with interesting things ONLY, and maybe help my kids find buried treasure or the lost city of some ancient civilization. Dammit.

journal 2

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