The questions in my journal will never be able to express how I feel


Grace Crook

This is the One Question a Day Journal, a 5 year committment in knowing what you want

I’m not one for writing in journals. 

Though I love the intention and purpose, I can never seem to hold myself accountable enough to write in it every day. Empty pages have consumed my journals more than my writing does. The thoughts in my brain can never be expressed by a pencil and paper. Instead, they come out in a scribble—a single line drawn frantically across a brightly saturated sheet—that can’t convey my emotions. 

The journal, a gift from my sister, follows through the year as a “one question a day” style of writing. It has 5 different spaces for different years to answer in. 

As I flip to the next page for a new day, I have trouble coming up with an answer. “What have you learned today?” the page reads, as it follows with blank lines awaiting my answer.

Though I can conjure an answer in my head, the words refuse to flow through to my pencil. 

What is my answer? What have I learned today? What would be so important that it is appropriate to scrawl down in the small space?

I skip the question and move to the next. 

“What makes you happiest?” 

I skip the question, still wondering how to answer these seemingly interrogating queries. 

I don’t know what makes me happiest.

At least not in the way I’d want to project. I feel the need to write insightful messages that I would look back on as my future self and be proud of, but instead, after minutes of empty thoughts, I close the book. 

It has been nineteen days since I’ve picked up the book and written in it. Nineteen days I’ve had to think about what makes me happiest, yet the page is still empty. 

I flip back to the question and write the uneventful words of  “i don’t know.” 

But it isn’t the fact that I don’t know the answer to any of these deep questions. It’s the commitment of what seems like a lifetime. These big bold letters on the cover test me. “5 year-journal,” it says. 

Five years is a long time. 1,825 days I will have to commit myself to writing answers I still won’t know. In five years, my life will be completely different. In five years, I will look back on my answers now and think about my unorganized thought process. I will think how strange my answers were, and what I was thinking to write such a thing. What is the point of writing if it won’t matter when I’m older? What if five years never comes? 

1,825 days I will have to commit myself to writing answers I still won’t know.”

I’ve always heard that when you’re upset, you should write your feelings down. The problem, though, is that I am unaware of my feelings. 

When I was younger, I attempted to write in journals of small summaries of my day. I look back now and realize the nostalgic unimportance of the entries. My life was simple when I wrote that; my inconveniences were that someone had cut the line for lunch. In one entry, I had written I was sad that 2011 was ending. Now it’s 2021, and I long for the days where I was upset about a foursquare game at recess.

As the year continues, I will remain leafing through pages of questions that I have no answers to.