Over the summer, I purchased a Lechtturm 1917 journal with dotted paper. Throughout high school and college I'd used a standard calendar planner to map out all my weekly tasks, including homework assignments, recitals, events on campus, and hanging out with friends. When I went shopping for school supplies for my final year of college, though, I bought a journal with blank pages instead of my usual calendar. I'd decided I wanted to start a bullet journal. I wanted to go this route because, first and foremost, they're beautiful. I'd seen photos of other people's planners on sites like Tumblr and Instagram, and they were all full of neatly handwritten calendar pages, patterned washi tape, weekly motivators, and other things that clearly outlined that these people had their lives together. I thought that this style of journaling would be too much for me, and that I wasn't creative or artistic enough to make my planner this way, but I decided to try it out anyway. I made a habit tracker to keep myself eating and sleeping regularly, a budget tracker to keep track of my funds, and calendar pages that would allow me to map out all of my tasks for the week. These journals are wildly popular, so I wanted to feel like part of the excitement.

As it turns out, my busy schedule proved that keeping up with a journal that I'd have to essentially draw out for myself was too much for me. I don't have the time to draw out pretty pages, write neatly, and keep track of how much I'm sleeping. I don't have the extra money to buy brightly colored highlighters or pretty tape. All I have the energy to do is write the date at the top of the page and list all of my assignments. However, it's still somehow more satisfying than writing between the pre-printed lines, and I plan to try and pick up where I left off at a point where I have more time and inspiration. So why do younger people love bullet journaling so much?

It comes down to control. Our generation has seen a considerable amount of economic and political instability with things like 9/11, the housing crisis of 2008, student loans, and a host of other issues. This has incited a desire for control in more aspects of life, especially when the world seems so out of control. These bullet journals have emerged as a more attractive way for younger people to balance work, life, and anything else they have to do to make ends meet. Writing down tasks helps cement them in your mind, and even if your brain's like a sieve (...like mine) writing tasks down means you can look back and be reminded of anything you've forgotten.

Looking at and maintaining a journal also means that you aren't looking at a screen, especially a screen that's constantly displaying messages and reminders of things you don't want to do, or can't do as quickly or as well as other people want you to. What's more, they're pretty, and it's satisfying to look at something beautiful while pretending you're organized. Bullet journals are completely customizable, and they feel like an ongoing art project that keeps you productive.

Why do younger people love journaling? It's fun, it's creative, and it serves a real organizational purpose. The level of design might vary from person to person, but there are no rules, no deadlines, no rubrics, and no quota for journaling. Whether it's just for fun or out of real necessity, journaling is useful for everyone.