For years, my father listed his daily activities in a spiral-bound notebook. He noted random and ordinary moments that occurred during the day. He always wrote the date, the day of the week and the year. Below these notations, he made timeline of his day: ate pizza with the family, watched a movie at the theater or sometimes, the conversations he had with my mom or one of us. He never made a point of keep his journal private. He acknowledged that he wanted to track his moments to understand how he spent his time. As a teenager, I dismissed this practice, without giving much thought at how this formed a compass for his life.
I always laugh now when I am writing my own activities in my journal. As a little girl, I never really kept a diary. I couldn’t make the commitment to jot down my thoughts everyday. It seemed silly to mention my mall trips or how I fared on my last history test. In the last ten years, the practice of tracking my ordinary moments creates a comfort. I’ve kept a line a day journal for the last seven years and not only can I compare days of the same year, but also different years. Some days the entries are simple, like noting if I read a particularly good book or if certain situations evoked sadness or happiness. There are no restrictions or limitations on what I can or cannot write about.
In a recent article on Motherlode, the article pointed that there is evidence that tracking these mundane moments might offer an unexpected sense of joy. I enjoy focusing on the ordinary because often times, it is remembering my daughter’s belly laugh or watching my mom cook a particular dish or catching a late-night movie with my husband that extrapolates what the essence of my life has become. It becomes a collection of where I was in a particular year or a collection of what I am becoming.
An added bonus has emerged from my daily journaling. It allows me to remember not only my days, but also keeps me connected to some of the more happier memories of my father.
Do you journal? What benefits have you seen with the practice?
Image: 143/365Diary by Magic Madzik via Flickr