Have you ever had a thought you couldn’t reveal to anyone?
Of course! We all have them.
Being human means we have fluttering thoughts floating through our minds all the time. We don’t say them, act on them. But they’re there, impacting who we are.
I walk down the street and meet a woman with a takeout cup from Starbucks. I form opinions on everything.
- Cute hat.
- Maybe I should stop for a cup.
- I left my wallet at home.
- Where is my wallet?
- Did I lose it?
- That reminds me, I have to pay my credit card bill.
- Oh, and I was going to buy that gift for …
You’re laughing right now, aren’t you? Because that’s a conversation we all have with ourselves multiple times a day.
But sometimes, our self-conversations go deeper. Waayyy deeper. We ponder something over and over again. It nags at us, gets to the heart of our soul, and impacts our lives in profound ways.
- Why did my friend say she never wants to see me again?
- Was it wrong for me to believe the way I do?
- Why can’t I say no to _?
- Why do I have so much hate inside?
- What’s wrong with me?
These are questions that won’t leave you alone. But you can’t always talk about them with the people closest to you. Especially when they are often ABOUT the people closest to you
A lot’s happened these past two years.
I’m adjusting to a lot of new norms in my life. And that has caused me to think deeper than I have in the past.
Luckily, I journal every day. Journaling gives you the chance to work through ideas that might haunt you if left unchecked. Journaling gives you a way to find solutions to things you can’t talk about with anybody.
As you’re working through your journaling routine in the coming weeks, put these journal prompts into your schedule and see what you come up with. They’re helping me dig deep right now.
“You must remember that your story matters. What you write has the power to save a life, sometimes that life is your own.” Stalina Goodwin
1. Am I making the right decision for this point in my life? Am I making this decision out of fear, or trust that I can move forward successfully?
Thinking about the future at midlife takes on a whole new light. Suddenly, you see things that society is driving into you about youth, aging, wellness, and retirement. That’s why we get continual thoughts like:
- Act your age.
- Only X years to retirement.
- I can’t do that, I’m too old.
- I’m past my prime.
- Accept it; it’s your life.
This can show up in little ways.
A job you keep doing because you’ve been there so long. A relationship you cling to even though it no longer serves you. Or an eating pattern that leads you further into sickness.
For too long, we have fallen into patterns based on the natural progression of time. Yet we see outliers all the time.
The 100-year-old yoga instructor.
The business owner who opens up her first shop at the age of 75.
I think fear has been weaved into our society right now big time.
Journaling helps me step back and ask: Is this logical? Am I moving forward because of fear? Am I accepting society’s view of what they think I’m capable of? Or am I able to move forward my way?
2. What am I listening to? Am I hearing what others are saying around me, or have I bought into a narrow way of thinking?
We’re now at a point in time where more information is available to us than at any other point in history.
You’d think that would make us better informed. All it’s really done is contribute to narrow-mindedness.
No matter what I believe, I can find a source for it online. I can confirm any bias I have, and give myself justification for believing it.
Even though there are millions of resources, we fall into the same patterns. Same sites. Same news sources. Same comments from the people we continually follow.
I discovered this the other day when a friend referred me to a podcast episode by a business owner out of the UK. His viewpoints were way beyond my own, and I found myself stretching in new ways.
A little sleuthing, and I opened up my world to an entirely different resource I’ve spent hours exploring.
Right now, part of my inner voice is asking, “Does this make sense?” And I’m shocked by how many different paths I’ve traveled down these past two years because of where it’s led me.
Journaling helps because I can see my thoughts on paper. And when they are no longer just in my mind, I start to see them clearer. I can reform them as a question. Or even add depth to what I’m asking. It gives me a basis for looking deeper into what’s happening all around me.
3. Is this going to lead to a better me a year from now? Mentally, physically, and emotionally.
The noise is terrible right now. People beating each other down. Cancel culture in high gear. Friends turning on friends. Entire subgroups of the population literally being told they can’t think for themselves.
My focus is on self-care. Self-awareness. Self-love. Because I have to be healthy in order to share myself with those around me.
Have you felt the energy changing all around us? Everywhere I turn, I’m learning about new energy, feminine energy that’s changing who we are as a world.
Earlier this year, Deepak Chopra and Alicia Keys hosted a 21 day meditation event called The Divine Feminine. In it, Alicia says:
“There is an imbalance. We can see that for so many years, the masculine has taken over, and the need for the feminine is imperative. We can see it all around us, the need for nurturing, the need for loving kindness, that we all have inside us.“
If you haven’t witnessed the collective talking about changing energy, think about it today. Journal on how you can become a better YOU a year from now. Include mental, physical, and emotional. Then create a plan, and put it into action.
4. What is my top priority in life right now?
I think a lot about the old narrative of women having it all. Remember the commercial from wayback that taught women:
I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never let you forget you’re a man?
Yep, a lot of us bought into that. And promptly drove ourselves crazy.
Years later, I attended a workshop on life balance. The instructor taught me that life balance isn’t about giving equal time to all things in your life. Instead, it’s about prioritizing what’s most important now.
For me, that stems from being present. If my adult daughter calls and needs to talk, I can push everything aside and focus on her. If my mother needs caregiving attention, I move everything off my plate and work to get things done.
Being present also recognizes the part of you that matters most. Being true to who you are.
I’ve been writing about that a lot these days as I think about what my top priority is at this point in my life. Will it change? Definitely. But journaling helps me focus more on the part of me that can recognize where value really is.
5. What do I want my life to look like in twenty-five years?
A lot of my world is centered around where we are here in 2021. Politics. Pandemics. It’s all gone to the extreme.
You have a viewpoint. So do I. And a lot of that feeds into my inner voice I rely on each day.
Right now the world is changing forever. There are two approaches
Some hope to return to a world pre-pandemic
Others realize that’s gone forever
I’m in the latter. Too much is changing right now ever to go back to the way things were. That impacts all of my plans for the future.
Where I was once making plans to slow travel the rest of my life, I’m now looking at things in a different way.
Especially as we close out 2021 and ring in 2022, I’m finding myself dreaming about my future, and writing down my thoughts on paper.
Adding longevity to it makes me dig deeper. Who will I be at seventy-five? Eighty? One hundred?
Of course, that’s a long way off. And if the past fifty years is any indication, there is no way I can predict one year from now, much less twenty-five or fifty.
But this question is giving me clues into who I want to be. Where I want to be. And what’s most important in my life.
My story matters. And the deeper I dig, the more I discover about myself in this world, the more comfortable I grow within my own skin.
Give these journal prompts a try, and let me know what you think.