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I’ve journaled since I was 14 and always used a Pilot Precise V5 pen to scribble in a hardcover notebook (several dozen of which are kept in my parents’ house). Journaling is an instant, chaotic task in the uncharted territory of empty pages. Sometimes I unleash a stream of consciousness on the side. Other times, they are organized lists, goals, and promises that I make to myself. In both cases, after writing, it is practically impossible to search for entries from a specific period. Where were these New Years resolutions I made in 2020? Fell into the abyss along with my list of my favorite parties from 2018.
Not so since I signed up for the monthly journal of Silk + Sonder, a subscription service founded by the entrepreneur in 2020 Meha Agrawal. Light and handsome without being too cute, this sub-planner sub-journal devotes a third of its pages to free-flowing writing and two-thirds to structured prompts that do justice to my internal control freak and thoughtful philosopher alike. The monthly delivery focuses on a single topic with prompts designed to shed light on the concept from different angles. In September, the month of observation, I was instructed to write down daily descriptions of my mood. In October, the motto “Calm” was journaling with lists of five things to calm me down. In January, I filled out an Ikigai questionnaire under the motto Ambition (named after the Japanese term for “Finding your own reason to be”) designed to help clarify career goals and marry them on purpose.
Sure, Silk + Special magazines come with some commitment when you fill out absolutely all of their monthly lists, mood trackers, and more. As my thoughts became increasingly erratic over the course of 2020, I found the structural support of the magazines comforting and reassuring. It was just as therapeutic to fill them with small, oversimplified details about my daily life as it was to pour my heart on its side without being asked. While the overall picture of my life feels completely dark (anyone else?), I’ve at least covered the little bits. I may one day resort to the great freedom of blank notebooks, but while the world continues to make little sense, I’ll stick to a journaling ritual that does so.