The journaling you do is primarily for you. It is a way for you to express your thoughts and feelings and maintain self-awareness. But your journals may also prove a significant part of your legacy. In her chapter for The Great Book of Journaling on legacy journaling, Merle Saferstein describes how legacy journaling might serve you. Merle explained:
Unlike the journaling we do for ourselves, legacy journaling is written for the benefit of others. A legacy journal can be a record of one’s spiritual values, life lessons, messages from the heart, reflections and more. Legacy journaling provides the beneficiary with insight into someone else’s thoughts and feelings. It serves as a first-person account of one’s journey and contains a peek into one’s soul and life. It is possible that a journal we write for ourselves might eventually morph into a legacy journal.
The idea to create a legacy journal first came to me about twenty years ago, when I began to rethink what to do with my collection of then 350 journals. Prior to that, I was convinced I would leave these volumes to my children. However, as time passed, it became clear to me that I was writing for myself. In every volume, there was something I would never want anyone in my life to see. That’s when I knew it would be a mistake to leave my journals to my children, as it could have possible negative consequences that I would never intend.
Yet, I wanted to leave a written legacy for my loved ones and future generations. With that in mind, I undertook a project of great magnitude—understanding that by doing this, I would be sharing the essence of who I am as well as my life’s journey.
Imagine my collection of journals as a tapestry. Initially, I identified approximately seventy topics which encompass the individual threads of my life. I have untangled them, so each subject is as a single strand apart from the rest. To look at marriage or parenting or any of the other subjects by themselves, without anything else encumbering them, gives me a microscopic, uninterrupted view of each of these threads and aspects of my life.
The process of my legacy writing involved reading each journal carefully and deciding which excerpts I wanted to share. I marked them with sticky notes. Once I completed an entire volume, I entered those selected excerpts into the computer according to the individual topics.