Between the years 2001 – 2007 I was an avid dairy writer and, although towards the ’06, 07′ years said diaries were practically incomplete, for the most part of my teen years I documented EVERYTHING.
The meaning of ‘diary’ is completely elusive in itself, it can be what we use to jot appointments and meetings in, (if you’re more organised than me that is) or it can be the outlet for all our hopes, dreams and secrets. Whilst my diary writing days followed the latter route, I managed to mix hopes & dreams with a LOT of factual, everyday descriptions… “Woke up at 7am, showered and had cereal for breakfast. I walked to school…” etc etc, I’m sure you get the drift, not riveting stuff. However whenever I’m visiting my family back in Cornwall and I come across the stack of worn away, W H Smith diaries, in the ‘junk’ cupboard above my bed it’s so easy to become engrossed reading through my mundane early years.
Memories are SO precious and (at the risk of sounding completely scientificly inacurate) the conscious part of our brain (you know the active bit we can almost speak thoughts in) is too small to deal efficiently with the HUGE catalog of memories we store in the other areas of our subconscious. So most of the time memories we have will never be recalled unless promoted or triggered. I find this really sad, and I notice it more than ever when I read my diaries, there are events and feelings that otherwise I would not have brought to mind, that would have slipped through the cracks forever.
If this isn’t reason enough to put pen to paper then I don’t know what is, but it’s still easier said than done. For a start what is an entirely natural process for a socially-awkward, insanely crush-obsessed, teenage girl doesn’t sit so well with an older me. Dear Dirary… no longer flows so easily on to paper let alone an out-pour of your day and emotional state of mind. I don’t know if this is true for everyone but whilst I may of been more socially awkward as a teenager I still felt comfortable scribbling down my private thoughts, something that has been lost in the transition to 23 year old me. I feel a disconnection with writing down how I feel, I’m no longer inhibition-free and I struggle to begin a typical diary passage that my 14 year old self eagarly spilled onto the page (in a variety of colours and scents – gel pens were the rage.)
Secondly we just don’t have the time. It’s ironic how angst-ridden our teenage years feel, how we are, en-mass, being oppressed and persecuted by the adult population, by our peers, by our siblings – how burdensome everything is. When in reality we never have it so easy again. I’m generalising here of course but you get the jist. 13 year old me walked home from school around 3.30pm (no nasty hour commute), this was followed by dinner being made by my parents and a relaxed evening interjected occasionaly by homework or an argument about getting off the computer and going to bed. There was no cooking, laundry, commitments, appointments or stress. Chores that were given were completed with sulky, heavy steps, (how ghastly that I’ve been forced to complete this outrageous task of washing up after dinner. Ahkjags.) Life is tough. Yet there is always time for documenting how unfair it is. Once you wave goodbye to your last Summer/Christmas/Easter holiday (ah how good were they?) then life tends to get a bit more hectic and we know where diary writing falls on our prioirty lists…
However I love the rush of nostalgia you get from reading back over thoughts from the past. It’s similar to how I feel when I often flick through the photos on my phone or instagram account, or when I hear a story from my childhood, if it brings back even just one recolection from a certain day or event than its worked for me. Whilst it’s difficult, incorporating some element of the ‘Diary’ into our busy and stressful lives can be hugely rewarding in more ways than one. Collecting thoughts can serve to help us organise our worrys, it can help us make decisions and I think it’s important sometimes to take a break away from digital documenting! Yes our facebook may have all our holiday pictures in, and yes twitter is an active timeline of the things we’ve done recently but there is something special about holding a memory in your hand, about it being a solid object!
This is why I’m champing for “Bring back the diary” (Even as I write this blog I will point out I am nortoriously awful at keeping a project going, and so this is as much a challenge for me as it is for anyone who wants to give it a go.) I want you to tackle this in any way that suits you, it doesn’t matter how much or how little you are writing, you can get creative stick in some printed out photos you love, train tickets, cinema tickets – don’t be neat!
Try and write something everyday. One thougt, one activity, one emotion.
Keep your Journal with you EVERYWHERE you go
When you hear a song you want to download later write it down same goes for movies, books, meal ideas, holiday spots – the list is endless
Don’t be afraid to ramble
Put down milestones – whether that milestone is the day you got engaged (time, place, how!) or the day you decided to quit your job or the day that boy you’ve had a crush on said Hey – it doesn’t matter how big or small, it’s fascinating to look back and read these things
Here’s a little sample of some notebooks and stationary you can use to inspire you to start your journal, scrapbook or diary! I’m a stationary worshiper (and I’m sure you can see the panda/cutsey/cartoon theme going on too hehe). You can find all of the above from either Artbox (my favourite site to buy kawaii themed bits and bobs from it is a m a z i n g) Paperchase, Urban Outfitters or Cath Kidston
Happy Writing! I will document how I get on with my journal/scrapbook/diary.