Keeping a daily diary in our modern world

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I never kept a journal/diary as a kid, although I always kind of wanted to. I think I was too lazy or perhaps felt that I didn’t really have anything of importance to write down – maybe I was scared that it would get into the wrong hands?! I have friends that did and reading excerpts from the past can be joyous, hilarious and heartbreaking all at once.

I grew up in the eighties, where journalling was definitely a ‘thing’ (and iphones would have been considered some kind of insane futuristic witchcraft!)

What seems so utterly important to an 11 year old can come across as trivial to an adult, but documenting the journey that life has taken you on is one that I now wish I had made more time for.

I grew up in the eighties, where journalling was definitely a ‘thing’ (and iphones would have been considered some kind of insane futuristic witchcraft!). I also read a lot of Judy Blume books, whereby many of the characters seemed to keep a diary – they were personal, inspiring and awkward – a glimpse into the unknown (a teenagers brain!) and I wanted to be like them and do what they did. But I never did it.

Perhaps the modern child would consider keeping a diary as archaic and unnecessary in a world that has the potential to document every moment of every second of our lives with ease (at the click of a button or the swipe of a screen). Yet, there is something innocent and honest about putting pen to paper and engaging with our thoughts and desires in a more considered way; something that simply isn’t present through the use of snapchat, instagram and facebook – although I know some would dispute this.

About 18 months ago (around the time I turned 40) I started to write things down. It began as a bit of a cathartic process of trying to unravel some of the complex thoughts and worries that were crowding my mind, but quickly became a relaxing and enjoyable way of documenting the good, the bad and all that was in-between. I don’t write everyday, there are no rules, just when the feeling takes me. No one else will ever read it ( I hope!), these words are just for me – but the process and the memories on the page provide an opportunity to reflect on a life being lived, with all its ups and downs and beauty and grit.

When I read back some of the things that were bothering me last year I can see how my life is not as stagnant as it sometimes may seem but that it flows, like a river, ever changing and in perpetual motion. Somehow that gives me a huge sense of calm and well-being. It makes me wonder whether if I had kept a diary as a kid, would it have provided me with a platform upon which to empty and enquire about the things that went on in my mind, perhaps even shielding me from some difficult situations or encouraging me to really enjoy the good times? I guess I’ll never know.

What I do know, is that I enjoy doing it now and I encourage my children to write things down too. Oh, and research suggests that journalling can be good for mindfulness, achieving goals, improving communication skills, stretching your IQ and improving self-confidence, which is pretty cool.

Are you a keeper of journals?


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