I’ve always understood the benefits of keeping a diary. Some of the most influential people in history have kept detailed journals of their lives, creating a permanent record for posterity and providing themselves with a cathartic release upon writing them. Despite this, I have long struggled to sit down and keep my own.
As an 11-year-old girl watching Bridget Jones document her life as a 30-something woman in London I was in awe. Even the most boring activities sounded exciting, memories worth holding on to.
However, the art of actually keeping a diary was always lost on me. My handwriting wasn’t neat enough, my life wasn’t ‘full’ enough and I felt like I was twisting my true thoughts in order to make my words seem more interesting and my days more meaningful.
When I stumbled across One Line a Day: A Five-Year Memory Book, I knew this was something I would find easier to keep up with. Writing one line each day over a five year period was surely something I could manage? With my 25th year approaching, I knew that as the next five years transpired, it was likely I would experience serious growth and change and I wanted to have a place that I could document and reflect on this with ease.
On January 1st 2016 I began my diary with excitement. Each page covers one day for five years and the lines are long enough to write several short sentences. This is great for those days where all I have to report on is what I had for breakfast but I do struggle when I’ve had a particularly interesting day. What makes the cut? What is potentially not worth remembering? As you get further and further in to the year, a tiny silk ribbon in the binding of the book acts as a bookmark to hold your place ready for the next days entry.
For the first eight months of the year I couldn’t believe how well I had done at keeping up with the diary. Despite admittedly not writing in it every day, I was able to store up several interesting little nuggets and then take the time to write them all down when I found a quiet minute or two to myself at home. However, past that it took a few weeks to get back into writing something down each day and I’ll admit I fell slightly out of love with it.
Luckily with Christmas and New Year being such exciting times in the calendar I quickly got back into it and I’m so glad I did. A year (and one month) on and I’m already enjoying being able to look at both the contrast and similarities in what I’ve done, felt, said and experienced compared to 2016.
Where will I be by 2020? Well that story is still to be written.