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
that’s really cool he did that…what a nice habit to pass on. 🙂
How sweet. I am an irregular journal keeper. I have long used journals throughout my life, but I think becoming a mother has made the activity of tracking my day-to-day far more meaningful. Also with children, I’ve begun to use photography to do the same in recent years.
I don’t journal, except for blogging really. That counts for something, I hope! It is a better baby book for my kids than anything else. Facebook is too!
What a great example your father set with that habit, Rudri! I don’t journal. I grab every moment I can to write so I don’t want to use it for journaling. I think it would be another distraction for me.
I love this idea. I always feel like my life is too crazy right now with two small children to make something like this a regular part of my every day. But I’m starting to realize I just need to make time for these kinds of things.
I wrote in a journal daily for years, though far less frequently while raising kids solo and working, But when I did make time, it always felt grounding.
Aww that’s so wonderful! This is something I should do – esp since I have a daily planner. I suffer from pretty sucky long-term memory and can’t recall a lot of events at the drop of a hat so I should start doing this. I just have a hard time developing a routine. Glad it’s therapeutic for you and makes you feel more connected to your father Rudri! Have a great one! -Iva
I’m sorry I missed this post. Somehow it landed in my spam folder.
In keeping track of those mundane moments in our life we find a theme, a pattern for the way we live and what is important to us.
I used to journal as a little girl. I toy with the idea occasionally. Maybe it will be something I do for the new year?
I love that you have your father’s notebooks to look back on…a great gift. I wrote journals on and off from the time I was eight and I love looking back and remembering moments that would have been lost otherwise. xo