I recall starting my own recounting of daily activities, with brief hand-scrawled notes. It was my 10th birthday … a new era.
Someone with insight (can’t recall who, most likely my mom) gifted me with one of those small but thick blank books. Each lined page had a date printed on it, imposing itself on me not to be left blank.
I can’t recall if it was leather or leatherette (?) but it was dark apple red with gold embossed letters, announcing “My Diary.” It had an attached flap with a lock and little gold key dangling from a red string. The lock was supremely welcomed as I had (still have) two older brothers. And you know how snoopy those can be.
Anyway, I’d have to dig deep in our garage today to see if, in fact, I still have that diary (haven’t seen it in so long) but the point is that it is what got me started … or should I say addicted.
From there, I fell in love with letter writing … and figured if I spent the time (well, it took longer back then) to write to my dear friends or relatives about what was happening in my life and how I felt about it all, I may as well keep copies. So I did. And those are in boxes in the garage for sure.
What’s funny is that I’m just now, lo these years later, taking the time to go back through some of those early writings … and I’ve learned a few things. What an understatement.
In fact, what I’ve learned about myself just recently, is how much more skilled I am in handling whatever life throws at me … good or bad. I’m teetering on the brink of saying that I actually feel I’ve gained some wisdom! So, for me, the idea of journal keeping, and/or letter writing (if you tell the truth in your letters, that is) is definitely a “Yes, just do it.” There’s no better way to assess your personal journey, for better or worse, whether you keep a daily diary, or a periodic correspondence, or just a collection of your written impressions …
And if you want some help getting started … check out this site, Writing the Journey which is chock full of diving boards to help you jump into the pool.
[My photo: Two kids giggling at their funny reflection in a mirrored ball, Butchart Gardens, near Victoria, British Columbia, 2006]