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Why I'm Documenting My Twenties, And Why You Should Do It Too

Written by Rachel Snyder

December 6, 2022

There is something very romantic about your twenties: the love, the heartbreak, the highs, and unfortunately the hangovers. All of these wonderful things are bundled up into a decade that is full of extremely important lessons and incredibly stupid mistakes.

As an avid romanticizer myself, I had a stroke of Bridget Jones Diary genius and decided to document my twenties. It was a way for me to put my writing skills to good use, and make this a project that I could actually keep myself accountable for. The loose idea was to make this into a diary about my life: what happens, what I’m doing, and who I’m dating so that I can look back fondly when I’m old and wrinkly to remember all of the amazing things I did when I was young. I even thought about this being a gift I could pass on to my future children, a tradition of sorts. Since my mom kept a journal when she was pregnant with my brother and me, I felt as if I could continue that Snyder legacy with a little Rachel flair.

So, the plan was set in motion. When my 20th birthday rolled around, I took a new journal and wrote down my mission statement for this little project. The concept started out as making it into a diary, but it has turned into so much more. The day I turned 20 I wrote down every little thought, feeling, and growing pain I was experiencing at the time. I explained how long I’ve waited to be a “twenty-something”, how relationships suck, and how I feel like I’m having an identity crisis every minute of every day. Fun stuff!

My hand was aching, but my heart was happy because I was officially committed. This felt like the beginning of my main character moment, the point in the story where there is an upbeat montage about the girl getting her life together (think Elle Woods studying on the treadmill type of montage). The main driver to this endeavor was that I knew I was going to be so incredibly grateful one day that I’m taking the time to translate my life into these lined pages. No matter how messy and confusing it may be, I told myself to write it out. So I did.

Catharsis is the word that comes to my mind. I was giving myself an outlet to articulate my feelings instead of letting them bottle up inside my head. I began writing everything that happened to me, documenting every experience and dumb decision that I made as a naive 20-year-old. The things I wanted and especially the things I didn’t want to remember are all in there. Do I necessarily want to remember the time I blacked out and then, unfortunately, threw up at my rabbi’s house? Not necessarily. However, it is these experiences that I can write about and then strictly condone myself so that I never partake in them in the future. Sorry rabbi.

Anyway, what I’m here to tell you is to join this journey with me. Since I just turned 21, I recently read the entire year's worth of entries. I cried, laughed, and cringed at myself even though I only wrote these things not so long ago. I could not get over the fact that there was an unbelievable amount of growth I saw within myself. My friendships, relationships, and self-worth changed tremendously in just 12 months. I saw that having a journal like this is not some sort of Snapchat memory, but it is a tool that gave me the ability to talk to my younger self with absolutely no barriers. You can write in it whenever you want. Every day, once a week, or even once a month. This is your story, so do what works best for you.

The one takeaway from this experience that I want you to know is that this should not feel like a chore. This is not some gratitude or spiritual journal in that you are forced to write five things you are grateful for or else your mental health will plummet! Think of it as a storyline in your main character moment. In the movie that is your life, wouldn't you want to have something to look back on to remember what happened? It’s not a diary, it's a story. Enjoy writing and welcome the mistakes that are going to come. 

Thank me later.

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