On Leaving Bullet Journal

When something doesn’t feel like it serves your mental health anymore, it’s time to quit it. Right? When I was teenager and well into my twenties, I carried coins in my pocket. There was no intention of buying anything with them. And besides, snack and soda machines all cost more than a few measly coins anyway. I carried them because the textures brought me to a state of calm whenever the anxiety crept up on me. Feeling the ridges of a quarter or a dime, and the smoothness of a penny or a nickel was meditative. 

I wish I could say I remember the last time I carried coins purposefully. My pockets remain empty these days save for a pen or my earbud case. Sometimes I do carry a fidget cube; although, more times than not that fidget cube is in my hand as I run my thumb over the various doodads and textures it offers. 

In 2018, I decided to start using Ryder Carroll’s bullet journal method to feel more in control of my thoughts, my life, and my tasks. I went all out with it, opting to buy the official bullet journal by LEUCHTTRUM1917 and graduating to the 2nd edition a few years later. (Hot take: the original version was miles better than the 2nd edition, and, if it hadn’t cost more, I would have stuck with that version.) And you know that nothing LEUCHTTRUM1917 makes is cheap, but it’s well worth it.  

I started my bullet journal journey in 2019 after watching and reading whatever Ryder Carroll put out there. I followed Tumblr blogs and read Reddit posts. I pinned spread templates. After cultivating these plans for a year, 2019 was going to be the beginning of my bullet journal era.

When COVID hit the country in 2020, my bullet journal split into two volumes. I filled the pages with notes and plans to run online sessions for my job. The idea of finding myself through this method became my undoing. By the end of the year, there was very little personality to my journal. 

2021 wasn’t any better. Nevermind, 2022. For 2023, I decided to split my world in two. I purchased my usual LEUCHTTRUM1917 journal for my personal life, but purchased a cheaper version for my work. My template for both changed. I was able to create monthly and weekly goals in my work journal, I ditched the weekends because I’m never scheduled for them. The front half is in planner format, while the latter half is reserved for notes and research ideas and the like. 

Without work, my personal journal seems empty. I track my spending, my exercise and steps. I track my water intake and moods and how many hours I sleep. I make notes of what I need to do that day and things that may have happened. I track my reading and movie watching. I split the book in two, like I did with the work journal, but only planning for the first six months of the year. The rest of the book was dedicated to writing poems, planning blog posts, writing down ideas and daydreams, and planning my son’s birthday party. 

Still, there’s a sense of an end. This was no longer serving me, so maybe it’s time to end it. I’m not going back to my original fat journal which I kept sporadically. I want to meld the two into one. Keep the trackers and goals of a bullet journal, but no longer bullet my days into condense notes. 

And maybe switch brands and journal styles. Is the dot-grid page appealing because it’s useful to me, or is it purely aesthetical

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

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