In this episode of The GenTwenty Podcast, Marina and Nicole talk to Taylor Leddin, author of The Time Capsule Journal, a personal growth workbook. Taylor shares how starting her journal 10 years ago has been a catalyst in her personal growth journey and inspired her to be her own best friend.
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This transcript has been gently edited for clarity.
Nicole Booz: Welcome back to The GenTwenty Podcast I’m Nicole…
Marina Crouse: And I’m Marina! And today we’re talking about the importance of being your own best friend with Taylor Leddin, the author of the Time Capsule Journal, a personal growth workbook you fill out half of now and then put away for a bit before you fill out the second half.
If you’ve been listening to the podcast for a while or following Nicole or myself you know that we love notebooks and we love personal growth so we’re very excited about this workbook and speaking with Taylor today! Taylor, can you tell us how you came up with this idea?
Taylor Leddin: Absolutely yeah, well first I wanted to say thank you for having me on the podcast I’m very excited to be speaking with you both and I love talking journal things with fellow journal lovers! This has to go back to high school is how this originally started. I was a senior and I was getting ready to graduate and I found a notebook that had been untouched in my desk and I just kind of started writing down daily diary entries and I would print things out from my computer funny little memes or what have you and I put them in there and eventually I kind of saw how much of the slice of life it was.
That coupled with the fact that I was at such a turning point in my life to be an impending graduate and becoming an adult, I thought it would be really interesting to fill it up in its entirety with everything “in the now” and create things like a bucket list and questions for my future self and I decided to finish it and put it away for ten years. I finished high school on my eighteenth birthday so I told myself that I would open it on my 28th birthday which is going to be my next birthday. I can’t believe it’s gone by that fast.
Marina Crouse: Ooh!
Nicole Booz: Wow!
Taylor Leddin: Yeah, so I’m very excited to open it. It’s not until May so I still have some time but I mean these past 10 years have flown by so that’ll be here before you know it. But so I did that and then I wound up doing the same thing in college. When I was about to graduate I did another journal and then I started telling my friends about it and they were all interested in the idea but they were kind of confused as to how to find the inspiration to get started and what to put in there.
It’s almost impossible to explain your brain to someone so I thought the best thing I could do for my friends was to get them some journals and kind of make a template for them and write down some questions in there that they could answer. I stressed that it didn’t have to be 10 years that they were putting between now and later. But then I thought if I’m doing this for my friends, this could be something that other people could use either during turning points in their life like I had done or you know just for fun and so I decided to turn the idea into a template. Which became the Time Capsule Journal workbook and it has tons of different prompts that mirror each other and the user decides how long they want to put between the present and the future. It could be six months, a year, whatever they want to do and that’s kind of how it all started.
Marina Crouse: I love that! I think we’re all 90s kids and the 90s were such a popular time for time capsules. I know Nickelodeon did one where they buried it in 1992 and they’re waiting to open it in 2042. We did one at my house. My dad and my brother and I buried a shoebox in the backyard…I honestly, don’t remember if it’s still there but it was such a thing in the 90s! As a writer I use journals a lot, and I know Nicole has a lot of journals too. But it can be really hard to get started and so I love that you have this kind of built in guide where you just follow the prompts.
I think journaling can be so important as a self-reflection and it helps you learn more about yourself. So that kind of segues into what we want to talk to you about today which is like building a friendship with yourself and how the the process of journaling in the Time Capsule Journal can help with that. Taylor, can you tell us a little bit about why it’s so important to build a friendship with yourself and how you can even do that/
Taylor Leddin: Yeah, Absolutely so it’s it’s obviously one of those things that’s easier said than done. But I think to some degree we all understand that we are with ourselves 24/7, 365. It just makes sense to want to like yourself, right? Which can be difficult to do especially at younger ages. I don’t know if I could fully say that I loved myself when I was graduating high school, because I didn’t fully know myself then. I came to realize that it just continues to grow the older I get, the more I get to know myself and I kind of took a step back and looked at how I could propel that forward and what I could be doing to be building that friendship and I think journaling is such a big part of that.
Even if you’re not doing a time capsule thing you could look up prompts that kind of force you to self-reflect and answer hard questions and get you really thinking about “how do I feel about this” or “how would I react to that” and I think once you kind of break down those barriers with yourself and allow yourself to be completely honest, you’re able to just kind of start building that friendship. You know it’s not so much to be confused with self-care which is an important component to it but taking the time to be mindful and really thinking about who you are what you want what you stand for and kind of watching how you make those things happen and how maybe it changes over time and just kind of keeping track of that and then just finding ways to be comfortable spending time by yourself.
I know that a lot of us over the last year and a half or so have probably spent quite a bit of time by ourselves. Even if we were sharing a space with somebody else and so I think that kind of forced us to figure out a little bit of who we are more than maybe we already understood. And so I think it’s just kind of taking a step back and asking yourself those deep questions of who am I and who do I want to be and what can I do to get there and not so much relying on the opinions of others to define who you are.
Nicole Booz: Yeah, I think that it’s so so important to actually like yourself and I really like that you acknowledge that we don’t always necessarily like ourselves or start out that way and it really is this journey of growth and Marina has the next question that we wanted to ask you but she talks about how in like we get so focused on growing that we forget to pause and that in the Time Capsule Journal you actually demand that of the writer. So why did you decide to format it that way?
Taylor Leddin: I think that it just kind of happened organically but it turned out to be something that works so well with the concept of getting to know yourself better that you kind of give yourself a deadline to be finished with the questions and then you give yourself something to look forward to. But it also gives you a sense of accountability like if you know that you wrote down that you want to I don’t know travel to Europe or something say you want to accomplish something you you feel more of that accountability because it’s down on paper and not just floating in your brain somewhere. You have to look back at that and be faced with the reality of “I wanted to do this did I accomplish this?” and you know if that could be anything from finishing school to a small list of small accomplishments. Like, learning how to touch my toes because I still can’t do that. I don’t think it’s possible for me at this point, I think I’m just going to give up.
Marina Crouse: I can’t either. It works if you bend your knees a little which I think is cheating.
Taylor Leddin: It goes back to that first question of building a friendship and taking that time to reflect. Something else I wanted to mention was how you had done an episode about how to focus on friendships post-college and how you have to make more of a concerted effort to do that because not everyone is in the same place at the same time and the same thing goes for just yourself because as time goes on, you tend to get busier and busier that you need to be carving out that time.
You have to check in with yourself and not let time just spiral you into confusion. That’s the the good thing about the journal is that you can do it however it works best for you and the way that your brain and imagination works. You could fill it out one question per night before you go to bed, you could do a bunch of it one sitting, you could take as much time as you need and, there’s no real rules with it. But it it does give you that aspect of accountability that I think is really important for growth.
Marina Crouse: Yeah, absolutely and I think it’s so interesting. You say that we have to learn to like ourselves and I know for myself I struggled to love myself for so long and and I worked really hard at it but it took years of work. And there are still moments where I don’t like myself, I’ll say something dumb and I’m just like “oh come on” but it’s with reflections through journaling and giving myself time to pause and reflect where I grow, and I think that’s it’s ok too. So, I’m not married but Nicole you can confirm or deny this, you can love someone but not like them sometimes so I feel like that’s okay for you to love yourself but not like where you are.
Nicole Booz: Oh oh for sure.
Taylor Leddin: Ah.
Marina Crouse: And kind of taking a step back and reflecting on that… So maybe you don’t want to journal but you meditate on the questions. Taking time to reflect is so important to building that trust and relationship with yourself, especially because like you said Taylor It’s been a long, quiet, lonely year. And we’ve all been forced to kind of face ourselves a little bit more honestly.
Taylor Leddin: Absolutely and I’m completely the same way where I will say something mean to myself because you know we tend to be our own harshest critic right? So I’ve noticed that as time has gone on I still continue to say ‘oh that was a dumb thing to say to myself.’ But then I take a moment to acknowledge the fact that that’s not the nicest thing to think about myself and kind of remind myself that that was just an instantaneous reaction and not a reflection of how I feel about myself whereas maybe 10 years ago I would have had those negative thoughts and just let them sit there and those kind of fester and feed into the “I don’t like these things about myself.” I think kind of having the ability to acknowledge that it’s just a bump in the road and it’s not you as a person and it’s just a moment in time kind of helps with that growth.
Nicole Booz: For sure and I kind of journal off-and-on which is why this is such a great method for me. But I think sometimes the reality that I was writing about and the reality that I remember in my head don’t always match up and I don’t know if that really makes any sense but it’s like sometimes I’ll look back and like something I wrote about like I didn’t really realize at the time how sad I was or how much I was really struggling.
Taylor Leddin: Yes.
Marina Crouse: Oh yeah.
Nicole Booz: Like I was going through this or whatever and I just never really dealt with some of the things that I wrote about in my journals. I found a journal when I moved last year…I was gonna say recently but it was ages ago… and it just made me so sad for who I was at that time, even though that’s not how I remembered that time in my mind, if that makes any sense at all..
Marina Crouse: Oh one hundred percent.
Taylor Leddin: Yeah, oh yeah, I totally get where you’re coming from with that. When I look back I have one journal that I used throughout college and I just hit a really rough patch and I wrote about it a lot. Now being so removed from it I think I look back on it more with rose colored glasses to where I was like “oh that that sucked but it wasn’t awful” and then you go back and read it and you’re like “oh my gosh that poor girl.”
Nicole Booz: Yeah, yeah, that’s how I felt reading my one journal… I actually got rid of it because I didn’t really wanted to be reminded of it anymore.
Marina Crouse: Well, it’s so interesting. I read a lot about writers and how they live their life and there’s like a fifty-fifty break where writers will keep journals and then never look at them, or even go as far to the point where they burn them or tear them up, or destroy them. And then there are other writers who keep journals and then constantly look back to find new meaning or new content or whatever.
I was just sitting here thinking I’ve been journaling off and on since I was in college too and I have tons of notebooks that I’ve filled up but I’ve never looked at them because I think I was I was too afraid to see what I used to think and I’m really curious. They’re in storage somewhere, I have to find them. But I think there can be a lot of benefit to looking back. But also we have to remember like those were really valid and raw feelings. And we can only see them through these rose colored glasses now because we’ve made it through the other side.
Taylor Leddin: Absolutely yeah, that’s a really good point.
Marina Crouse: In a previous episode, we were talking to someone about our twenties and feeling like the like the crises we have and now that I’m 30, I’m a little bit calmer, I’m a little bit more settled, but I still journal almost every day just to help me process what I’m feeling or what my goals are and it’s interesting how my relationship with myself changing. How my journaling has changed too because I used to only journal when I was really upset about something and now it’s “this is on my mind and I’m feeling neutral about it but I want to like capture it and see it differently” because I think when you write something down you’re having to process it in that moment anyway and so you kind of reveal things to yourself as you’re writing about a conversation you had with a parent or a friend and it’s like you seeing it differently. In that journaling moment too.
Taylor Leddin: Yeah I am still kind of the same way with that where I’ll gravitate more towards my journal when I’m feeling upset and need to just kind of get something off of my chest, but I love those going back and looking at old entries where it’s something like you said neutral that was just kind of an “ah” moment in time that I’ve may have even completely forgotten about. But like “oh yeah, that also happened” that’s good that it’s not all bad memories. So, there’s definitely benefits to both and I think that’s my favorite thing about journaling is that everyone has their own relationship with it. But I think it’s it’s such a big part of how we see ourselves kind of getting that reflection. So yeah, it’s pretty cool.
Marina Crouse: Yeah, and I think understanding how you see yourself is really important in liking yourself and building a friendship with yourself. I saw…we’ll call it a meme…on Instagram a couple months ago and it was like “don’t believe everything you think” and I loved that because it was just like yeah that’s true and when you build a friendship with someone who’s outside of you, you know there’s ebbs and flows and it’s a process to learn to trust them and to understand them.
I’ve made a couple new friends during the pandemic and it’s funny because we communicate a lot through Instagram and zoom it’s learning each other’s sense of humor and things like that and so you kind of have to go through that with yourself too. You have to figure out who you are and what you like and the more you do that the more you’ll like yourself or find where you want to grow if there’s something you don’t like. But it’s so valuable to build that relationship with yourself because, like you were saying at the beginning of the podcast, Taylor, you’re spending a lot of time with yourself. Like, thinking “I’ve got me for the rest of my life. So I hope I like myself.”
Taylor Leddin: Yeah, yeah, and I’ve seen such a shift in that with myself where I still have issues with making decisions and kind of being just very much a people pleaser. But I will say I used to be much more of a doormat when it came to that and I don’t know what exactly made the shift happen but I just realized one day that I don’t always want to be like that as much. As much I like to make people happy, it doesn’t have to happen ahead of myself all the time. So I began to kind of make myself say no to things and, you know, disagree with things that people say if it’s something that I disagree with and I think that that’s helped so much with my growth to show me like “oh you actually don’t like this” so it’s okay to say something. You don’t have to be afraid of what the reaction will be, so I think kind of being mindful of that as well I think mindfulness is such a huge part of it if just. Taking everything in and being like how exactly do I feel about this.
Nicole Booz: Yeah I completely agree and it’s so hard I think being a people pleaser because I think most of us tend to be people pleasers because we were raised to be parent pleasers which is like a whole other conversation. And I think it does take a lot of work to overcome that and I think journaling can really be a powerful tool to get through that.
Marina Crouse: Oh yeah, absolutely yeah! I really relate. I’m currently trying to be less of a people pleaser and I’m trying to embrace that one word sentence of “no.” It’s interesting how knee jerk of a reaction it is. Someone might ask me, “oh can you do this” and I’m like “oh yes, of course, let me do this” and it’s like Marina, you don’t have time in your schedule to do that. You can say no and so it’s been in getting to know myself and my priorities better that I can better stand up for myself which is a beautifully empowering circle of… not a circle of life but like everything lends it to itself for like growth and betterment.
Taylor Leddin: It it really does and it’s interesting. Once you start to see that and you can really appreciate it more once you’re picking it apart and seeing how you know one hand feeds the other kind of thing. So it’s a very interesting process as much as it is a beneficial.
Marina Crouse: Yeah, absolutely and so talking about our younger selves. what do you wish you could have told your younger self that no one else told you?
Taylor Leddin: I think the biggest thing that comes to mind with this is that I still struggle with this and I know a lot of people do too. I very much compare myself to others and that’s only gotten worse with constant social media highlights and things as we all know. But when I was younger I have an older sister and an older cousin that I’m very close to and I just kind of assumed that their trajectories would be what I would wind up doing.
For example, they both started dating their now-husbands in college. So by the time I was going to college I was like “okay this is the time that I’m going to find my husband” and I put such an emphasis on that and spoiler alert I did not meet my future husband in college. I wound up meeting him down the line on a dating app. But I think kind of you know, not comparing your journey to someone else’s because eventually I realized if our journeys are meant to be the same then what’s the point of all of us being here.
I needed to embrace the fact that I always kind of march to the beat of my own drum and I began to take different career turns and things that were more in line with my creativity and things like that and it’s given me so much more of an appreciation for the course that my life took rather than following some map that never even existed in the first place because I thought it was what I was supposed to do. So I think it’s so important not to compare your timeline to others because we’re all doing it differently and the truth is most of us if not all of us don’t always know what we’re doing anyway. No one has the secret to it so just doing what’s best for you is what’s going to wind up being the best decision.
Nicole Booz: Absolutely, That’s so perfect. Thank you so much for sharing that with us. Taylor, where can people find you?
Taylor Leddin: Yeah, so I am on Twitter and Instagram @taylorleddin just my full name, no spaces. My website is TaylorLeddin.com and then The Time Capsule Journal is on amazon.
Nicole Booz: Thank you! We will link all of that in the show notes and thank you so so much for being here with us today and talking about journaling and growth, two of our favorite topics ever.
Taylor Leddin: Ah, thank you so much for having me. It was so nice talking with you. Both.
Nicole Booz: This was another episode of The GenTwenty Podcast and we’ll see you again soon!