Life Journaling with NOSO

This is somewhat different than the usual post. On the surface, it’s basically extolling the power of journaling to make life a little better. But the “too long, didn’t read” version would be this:

Teenagers especially can benefit from journaling. The creators of the NOSO Notebook (Not On SOcial media, get it?) have not only created a journal specifically designed for teens, they are also devoting a significant amount of the proceeds towards “teen wellbeing and mental health initiatives.”

For me, that’s the big selling point. Because there’s a lot of great notebooks out there (in the video, one of the creators has a Field Notes notebook prominently displayed on her desk). But if you’re going to buy a notebook, why not combine that with something that is also going towards the greater good?

Journaling Under Duress

Full disclosure: I began journaling about age fourteen, and it was under duress. I was raised in a religion that held up the journals and memoirs of the founding members in high regard, and it was encouraged as one of the many virtuous qualities a young man would have on his path to righteousness.

Of course, I resented that. I didn’t want to journal, and so a lot of my writing ended up being the furthest thing from righteous. I did not write about my faith in God, I wrote about my bitter resentment over the way the Baby Boomers had put us on the path to nuclear armageddon. I wrote about the crushes that I had on various people, and the heartbreak of unrequited (really: clueless) attempts to garner their attention.

One of the things I wrote a lot about was the way that I could see where people I cared about needed psychological care and counseling — and how the adults who could provide it didn’t see it. I was really resentful of that — and I can tell you that because I can still read those words written thirty-four years ago.

Finding Your Path

I’m not resentful any more — the benefit of hindsight has made me more charitable to the shortcomings of being an “adult” — but I still journal, and I still write whatever comes into my head. It’s by no means been a constant practice. Even the month of December has a whole week missing from my daily journal, and I’m somebody who’s writing a blog post telling you to journal.

Journaling might have been easier to turn into a daily habit if it had been fun from the beginning.

I mean, now I lust after notebooks, I thrill at filling my fountain pens with special inks, I have favorite mugs filled with hot beverage and a comfortable chair to do the writing…I make my journaling a pleasure for myself.

That’s what the NOSO creators have done. They understand all of the reasons why journaling is good for teens especially — but they went the extra mile to make the product itself interesting:

We want to give our budding teens something meaningful and intentional — something analogue to balance beautifully with their tech-filled social lives…our focus is also on it being not too prescriptive, so that it lends itself to any preferred use, be it for goal-setting, planning, ideation, writing, drawing or something else.

Along with that there’s a bunch of stuff about the materials, the paper, even the production process — but if you know a teen, this would be something that would be a worthwhile tool to put in their hands. It can be life-changing.

And if you don’t know a teen, I’d still suggest you back their project. Because somewhere out there there’s a teen who’s gonna need it.

I received no compensation from NOSO for this article, but I am a backer of their project.

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