01 March 2015

Keeping a diary

Recently I've been in a bit of a nostalgic mood, and I've been reading my old diaries from my primary school days, and Mum's from the same period. One of my old high school friends mentioned that she'd been keeping a diary since the age of 12, and I read Marceline's post about keeping a diary. All of this conspired to make me wish I'd bought the 5-year diary Marceline had designed. At the end of January I realised that I could still get it, by buying the spiral-bound version from Lulu, and I excitedly ordered it straight away!

In my school days I did keep a lot of diaries. From the time we started school in P1, to the end of P4, we kept "news" books at school, jotters in which we wrote and drew every school day, and I love reading these and picking out events that I remember. A lot of them didn't have the dates written in them, so it took a bit of work to sort them into chronological order (that's what the number stickers on the top left are!). So that covers a lot of the time from mid-1976 to mid-1980. 
I had "proper" diaries in 1982, 1983 and 1985. After that, I kept very detailed diaries in hardback notebooks from the start of 1987 to early 1993, covering my late high school years and much of university.
Since then, for the 20 years of my working life, I haven't kept a diary at all (other than my travel journals), because it seemed like a bit of a chore, and I didn't think enough was happening in my life. Reading my mum's diaries, and what Marceline wrote about keeping a diary, made me realise that I had diaries all wrong! I previously thought that to be of any value, they had to have screeds written in them every day and delve into all your inner feelings! Which is a chore both to write and sometimes also a chore to reread (my high school ones are both embarrassing and repetitive, full of who I fancied and how often I'd seen him that day!). 

But reading my mum's diaries, where she just jotted down a few things each day, took me back to the moments that she thought were significant, and most of them were ones that had also stuck in my memory. It was amazing to confirm that there had, indeed, been a power cut at Halloween, and we'd ducked for apples by candlelight, and to find out what the pottery actually was that I got my Russian dolls from (it was Hornsea Pottery, not Heysham)!

So, in my gorgeous new diary, I only have space to put down the most significant things that happened. And that's actually helping me to be objective about the day-to-day annoyances that sometimes get me down - would I record this in my diary for posterity? If the answer is no, it's not really that important, and I shouldn't get stressed about it!
Before the diary arrived, I set to work figuring out what I'd been up to over the month of January. Winter is not a time of year I get out and about much, so I thought I'd end up with a lot of blank spaces. But, surprisingly, I managed to fill in almost every day! I took Marceline's advice and looked back through my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I also looked at what photos I'd taken, what blog posts I'd written (I tend to write them about 3 weeks in advance), emails and texts I'd written, and I looked at my calendar and emails at work. Our lives are so documented these days! 

One piece of advice I would give, from reading my mum's diaries, is don't ever leave a day blank - if not much happened, she writes "Not much", or "Lazy day"! That way, when you are rereading, you won't be always wondering whether something significant happened on that blank day, and you've forgotten all about it!

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...