When I was about 25 years old, my best friend packed up her life and moved to Arizona. I wasn’t happy about it. We saw each other regularly. We texted constantly. We emailed often. And now she was moving across the country and likely, I wouldn’t see her for years. I needed to feel like we were still connected. Before she left, I bought her a circle journal kit, like this one, to help us stay in touch.
The idea is simple. She would keep it for a while, write in it, enclose pictures, etc. and then she would stick it in one of the envelopes in the box and ship it back to me. I’d respond, write my own entries and send it back to her. We did this until this book was full and then we started another one. In fact, I’m not sure why we stopped. Our second book, for the record,
We shared secrets, feelings, stories and insights into our lives….things that I might never say in person or even on the phone. She was starting a life in Arizona and I was getting ready to get married. I saw her through life in the west, her travels, her fears, her thoughts about the future and she watched me struggle to avoid becoming bridezilla, the difficulties of my pregnancy and the scary moments of my husband’s at-work accident.
We are both writers and like to tell stories about where we’ve been and what we’ve been doing—stories that seem silly to text or even email, mostly because they are long.
There is just something about sitting down and spending time with pen and paper. Even more when you are getting a response. And even more when you are doing it with your best friend.
It was sort of like having a pen pal, but better. What I love most, is that I took those pictures today, meaning I still have it. It was a little hard to read. I can see us. I can see what we struggled through. I can see what still plagues us. I’m sad for the things that made us so depressed. I love reliving the magic of the happy times.
I haven’t pulled it out in years and I probably won’t read all of it this time. Some parts are things I’d rather forget. But I’ll keep it and some day, I’ll face those memories. Some day my kids can take a look at who I was before they were here. I didn’t keep a real journal, but this gives them a glimpse of my life back then. Maybe they will feel comfort in knowing how I felt when I married their dad, found out I was pregnant or adjusted to having a new baby. Maybe it will show then that it’s okay to make mistakes. Or that every part of your life is important in who you will become.
It’s impossible to know the future of this journal, but one thing is for sure: I’d do it all over again. It captured my past. It documented my life. And most importantly, it connected me to a girl who I will always consider my best friend.
Don’t forget that if you are interested in National Letter Writing Month, I have post about tools and tips as well as writing prompts that might help you complete 30 letters in 30 days.