Diaries and Journals: Creating a record of your own life.

Creating a diary or journal used to be an everyday kind of thing. You went about your day, working, eating, cleaning, socializing and shopping. At the end of the day you would take a few moments and use the simple task of writing to clear your mind. The entry might just be a recitation of facts and events, or you may include the latest gossip, your descriptions of what one of your friends wore during a lunch date, the reprimand you got from your boss for slacking off, or the bonus you got for doing a good job. Maybe you saw a movie and want to mention your impressions of it or you ate at a really good restaurant and the food was wonderful.

Whatever it was, you wrote it down and it became the record of your superbly ordinary life. It meant that you were here, and not because you carved your initials into a tree somewhere. The creation of a journal puts your life into context; it shows how you interact with the world around you and lets those who come later know the real you, even if they can’t meet you personally.

One of my co-workers is very interested in history, especially local history. She once made the comment that it was interesting to read excerpts from her ancestor’s diaries, and how it made them more ‘real’ to her. Reading their own accounts of their lives brought them back to life in a sense. It turned history from a dry collection of facts to an intimate experience of daily life for her.

I mentioned this to another friend, who told me that when she was pregnant she kept a daily journal for each of her soon-to-be children so they would know what was going on in the time before they were born. She said she wrote the entries as if they were letters to the child, detailing each and every test result, including things like morning sickness, the first time she felt them move in her womb, the first ultrasound, adventures in decorating their nursery, and reactions from relatives and friends. When her kids are older, she plans to gift them with the diaries so they will see what an impact they had made even before they were born.

Still another friend does what is called ‘Art Journaling’. She uses not only words, but paint, ink, pens, collages, and a host of other techniques as well as the written word to create very lovely and expressive records of her impressions of life. Her sketchbooks are fascinating individual creations that truly blur the lines between personal recording and artistic expression.

It really doesn’t matter what form your diary or journal takes. It could be online in a blog, on computer in a private file or on paper with ink and paint. You might set up a camera and make a video diary to be saved to DVD. The important thing is that you take a moment to record your life for yourself. Use it to clear your mind of those nagging worries by putting them down to be looked at later. Make lists of the things you want to do with your loved ones or plot world domination in your favorite MMORPG. It’s your diary—use it to save what’s important to you, about you and for you.

I think I’ll grab some of the blank books I’ve been buying all these years and put them to use. I may write bad poetry, create new wedding ceremonies, religious rituals, bad limericks or draw a few pictures. I may create scurrilous tales about fictional adversaries. Or not. No matter what, it will be my journal and it will be fun!

Find your Peace, friends.

Rev. Zita

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