new year, new journal

The beginning of a new year means I get a new planner, journal, diary and/or calendar. And this year I can celebrate finishing my 5 year diary!

I loved (the idea of) my 5 year diary, even though it took 6 years to fill (I took a year or so off between mid 2009 and late 2010) but I am excited to have only ONE diary to keep up with in 2012.

In every area of my life I swing between wanting only one thing (my minimalist side) and wanting to try a lot of different things (my scanner side) – usually the scanner wins out. At times during the last couple of years I have juggled a blog, brain-dump journals, a 5 year diary, a planner, a sketchbook, letters to my family, and photos, all competing to document my life. The truth is I can’t keep up with all of them AND live my life. I can’t even keep up with a few of them. This year I have decided to concentrate on the forms that I love – enthusiastic photography and a daily diary.

In 2012 I have a simple black page-a-day diary/journal. It has enough space for a recap of my day and a short commentary (or a longer page of thoughts with only a minimal day review). It has a space to note the weather and I am writing the name(s) of the books I am reading at the top of each page.

I enjoy knowing what I was doing on a given day more than I enjoy reading or writing a lot about my feelings. Using the 5 year diary I would go back read previous years to see whether we were busy at work, what the weather was like, if we forgot our anniversary (or Halloween one year) or what I was reading or watching. Even without writing down my feelings I could tell whether I was busy or lonely, sad or too busy with life to worry about anything – the activities of the day would often trigger memories of my mood.

My morning pages/brain dump journals didn’t quite work for me – I would re-read them and wonder how I could have not written about important things I remember were going on – often the most emotional things in my life would be the least reported in my journal.   They did help me think – sometimes I worked out pretty tricky problems by writing them out. But I still wanted to keep a diary showing what I did each day…

Maybe I should just let the past be the past, but it really bothers me that I have nothing to anchor certain memories in time. I can’t even remember exactly when I got chicken pox (I know I was in my early 20s, but was I 21? I think so, but I don’t know for sure!) There are events that I think were going on around the same time, but without the diary to confirm the chronology I can’t be sure. And that’s drives me crazy!

I have a small vintage suitcase full of journals, writing, planner pages and other personal papers. I have one diary from intermediate school and even a few little books from primary school with my childish handwriting. These papers help me feel anchored in reality!

I’m looking forward to seeing how my page-a-day one-diary plan works out.

10 days into the year, I’m optimistic!


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