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An Unexpected Side Effect

April 6, 2010

When I was a little girl, I kept diaries religiously. I used to write in them, carry them around, and make sure to never ever miss a day. If you ask any of my friends or acquaintances from that time in my life, I am confident that they will still remember my diaries. When I came to the US for college, I tried to keep them up but, for some reason, I could no longer do it. Little by little, I lost the habit. I regret that for many reasons and I have started keeping a daily dairy of sorts on my blog this year. But it’s not the same as what I used to do.

Over the years, I tried to start several diaries and kept picking up different kinds of notebooks that spoke to me. I bought magnificent ones, expensive ones, simple ones, lined ones and ones with squares. I started writing many times, but never went through with it for more than a week or two. During this time, one of the things I bought was a 5-year journal.

This cute book is arranged so that each page is a specific date, April 1, April 2, April 3 etc. And each page has five sections. Each section has a few lines. The way you use it is by journaling for a few lines each day and then starting the book over the next year and writing in the second section of each page. On and on for five years. This way, at the end of five years, when you look on a particular date (say April 6) you can see what you did on April 6 for the last five years. I thought this was the cutest idea.

But I never did it.

It just felt boring once I started it. I did the same stuff everyday. Even before I had kids. I worked. I came home. I read. I slept. That was about it. So I wasn’t able to keep this journal either. But I loved the idea of having a simple record of my year. Even if it wasn’t for 5 years, I’d love to be able to write 2-3 sentences everyday for a whole year and then to be able to read them. Wouldn’t that be fun? A different kind of journaling. A small snapshot of my year.

For those of you who use Facebook or Twitter, that’s something you could do, too. Use your statuses for a snapshot of your year. I don’t use either that much so, for me, I realized that the “Three Things I’m Grateful For” exercise I do daily is my record of the year. Yes, I often am thankful for generic things like my kids but since I have to come up with three, I also have something specific to my day. Like yesterday it was about a trip to the doctor and discovering that my little boy didn’t have a third ear infection (thankfully!). So if I were to collect all of the sentences I wrote so far, I’d have a pretty accurate snapshot of my year up until now. And from the wonderful perspective of giving thanks.

Isn’t that neat?

It isn’t something I thought of when I decided to do my three-things-daily but it’s a wonderful side effect and I am grateful for it.

So my message to you today is to try writing down one sentence everyday. If you’re only going to do one, pick something specific to your day. You use Facebook? Do it there. Or Twitter. Or your blog. Or a piece of paper. Find a jar and stick your pieces in there. Write the date. When you’re feeling down, pick one from the jar. Let it inspire you. At the end of the year, dump your jar and see a wonderfully happy record of your year.

You will be grateful you did it, I promise.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Lisa permalink
    April 6, 2010 4:26 pm

    Great post Karen!
    I also kept a daily diary – NEVER missing a day (even when I was sick) from age 14 to 19. Then it just stopped and I don’t know why. I also have tried over the last 15 years (many times) to start again but it never seems to last longer than a few weeks. I love the 5 years to a page idea – that’s neat. That would be awesome for a child to do too. Getting them to write a sentance each day, seeing their writing develope, their thoughts mature – WOW I’m really inspired. THANKS for that, really.
    Just thought of something – how great would it be to have mine and my 8 year old boys sentances together, on the page. Imagine reading THAT in 10 or even 20 years time. TOTALLY awesome.

  2. Gab permalink
    April 26, 2010 3:10 am

    I used to keep a diary too. Lisa, I love the idea to get your son involved – that would be so amazing to look back on

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