Keeping track of life: daily diary entries
On the 16th of April 2016, I opened up my iPod touch notes app and wrote a short summary of my day -“16/4 term 1 first day of holidays, went to Darcy’s for a bandana theme get together, watched paranormal activity”
To be honest, I’m not entirely sure why I decided to do this but I haven’t stopped for the past five years… My entries are a little more detailed these days but I have stuck with the common structure of outlining key memory triggers noticed on the day: my interactions with people, the food I ate & the places I went to.
I kept this to myself for the first couple of years until a hefty speeding fine presented itself to my family (and boy, do these things take a while to surface). No one in my family could recall what happened that day – who was the culprit? I opened the notes app and scrolled through to the relevant date and voila – ‘Richard went to Josh’s house’. It was my brother.
So, what does this reveal? Do I write these entries because I have the fear that one day, I will be a suspect in a grand criminal case and I can then whip out the notes app as evidence of my innocence? Maybe. But upon reflection, I can think of a few reasons why I have kept up this habit of mine.
1. I have a fear of forgetting and losing cherished memories.
I consider myself quite a nostalgic person who likes to remember past events. And I wasn’t gifted with an incredible memory – so yes, I hope I can indeed recall that iconic AUES 2019 pub-crawl or the time my friends and I overate at a buffet.
2. I want to track my personal development.
Admittedly, it was hard scrolling through 2016 as I have forgotten most of what happened while I was in high school (year 11). Here is a thrilling entry:
"31/5 English peer assessment of intertextual task, legal recap of everything, maths forgot my book frustrating, did a lot of homework, so stressed"
Yikes. For the most part, my 2016 & 2017 consisted of entries like this in which I clearly had no exciting moments of the day. Although my entries upon coming to university still include commentary on stressful assignments and exams, I do see improvement and days filled with excitement and memorable moments.
3. I want to remember key conversations and moments with people.
If I ever had a fun conversation… or you've said something interesting or sweet, I have included that in my entries. What can I say, it’s nice to recall these moments! It’s also a cool journey typing in key names in the search bar to see what my interactions were like with people across the years.
So, would I recommend writing a diary entry every day?
This habit has certainly proved that I am consistent and dedicated but I know it isn’t for everyone. However, I will say it is rewarding to read through past entries – days where I celebrated birthdays, got a new job or travelled. I relive these incredible experiences when reading these diary entries. Putting aside less than five minutes before going to bed to write these entries isn’t too strenuous but I can understand why this isn’t ideal for everyone.
It will be interesting to see how long I stick with this habit - one day will I be in retirement reading through my days travelling around the world (don’t mind me manifesting that this will happen one day)? I find it surreal that as a 16-year-old, I decided this would be fun and now at 21, I have continued this pocketbook journey of my youth.
Here’s to my 5th year of daily diary entries – and perhaps the beginning of someone else’s journey writing diary entries (it could be you)!