I received my first journal the Christmas after I turned eight. It was bound in burgundy leather with gold imprinting and had smooth white unlined pages so my irregular writing weaved across them. I wrote in it that first night after unwrapping it and ever night thereafter for at least a year. I must have twenty different journals since then. They vary in shape, size and aesthetics. I laugh when I see the padded one with a dog illustration on the front and remember fondly when I purchased the one bound in hand-marbled paper and linen on a college trip to Venice. My writing improved, and then seems to have become worse, but still nothing beats something written directly by hand.
Some of the books catalog a year, and some not quite a year, and others span a five year period. Unfortunately the books that cover more time are the more recent and I lament the fact that I haven't been journaling as regularly about my young adulthood and early married years. There was a time when I journaled regularly but found the habit a bit rote. Seemed each entry would simply list the days activities, which didn't change all that much. But when I moved the box of my journals out of the basement for a remodel a couple years ago I flipped through those junior high journals and laughed myself silly at the personality they portrayed. I was giddy, I was boy-crazy, I was a dreamer full of lists of things to do (I guess not everything changes when you grow up). So even the mundane recordings have a lot to reveal.
A few years ago I decided it would be easier to journal online, through a family blog. I'm on the computer so much anyway, it seemed a simple idea to type a few paragraphs about an experience or a first in my child's life, or something funny one of them just said. And so great to have pictures to go along! The online journaling started off about like my offline: with a flurry of activity and regularity for about the first year and then it has trailed off a bit. I am always recommitting to be more regular about it.
In this busy life with lots of good things to do I believe there is a lot of value in stopping to think about what we should be noticing, remembering, and learning from. If I write it down perhaps I won't forget and perhaps I will find it instructive in a few years, or perhaps my children, or even grandchildren will.
So online, or in a leather bound book, or a simple composition notebook, I will continue to journal my life and can't wait for the Christmas or Birthday when I gift my daughters their first journal to record the perspectives that can belong only to their little souls.
You can read more about Anneliese at her blog, Aesthetic Nest.
Check out the other entries in the On Journaling series.