Why Keep a Journal or Blog?
Exactly one year ago, I was in Kenya having one of the best times of my life. I was there for two months volunteering at a community bank with a few others from Canada. I do remember what I did there, but not the fine details. Thankfully, I kept a blog that I wrote in almost every day.
Here’s what I blogged on this exact day one year ago:
I just realized that tomorrow I’ll have been in Kenya for exactly one month… that was way too fast, ahhh!!!! I have less than a month left here, so crazy.
I also realize I’m getting more and more accustomed to everything here — the more subtle aspects of Kenyan culture, the food and the huge sodas, animals waking me up in the morning, chickens and cows just everywhere, Kenyan time, the slowness of everything, and so much more — I’m getting more accustomed, but I’m also trying to embrace it and appreciate everything at the same time. I think the fact that I’m in Kenya is finally starting to sink in. Every day, I still marvel at everything everywhere I walk, and I just know that I’m really going to miss this place when I fly back to Vancouver.
Last year in Kenya, I pushed myself to write something every day. Often, I would be the only one up at 1 AM in the morning typing on my laptop while everyone else went to bed. I was exhausted like everyone else, but I wanted to record down what I did that day, and any observations or thoughts I had. I believed that it was worth losing a half hour of sleep every day.
(On a side note, I can’t believe it’s been a year since Kenya, so crazy. That was way too fast, ahhh!!!!)
I blog for myself, mainly. Of course there are family and friends who are curious to know what I’m up to and I’m happy to share my blog with them, but I blog mainly for myself. It’s become a hobby—thinking, reflecting, and writing. I’ve kept way too many journals to count, and I’ve created eight blogs over the years, which I think is even a bit silly.
I like to blog because it helps me organize my scrambled thoughts into something nice and polished. I like it because I don’t like forgetting what I’ve experienced or learned, because I enjoy looking back and seeing how things have changed since then. The past gets blurry with time. The only way to encapsulate your thoughts at a specific time in your life is to write them down—if you think that’s important.
In December 2013, I bought myself a One Line A Day journal at Chapters. For one and a half years, I’ve been faithfully writing it in every day. How it works is that there are 366 pages in the journal—one page for each day of the year. Each page has five sections, so you can write in it every day for five years. There’s not much commitment you need to do this. Every day before I sleep, I write 2-3 sentences about what I did that day and any important thoughts. It takes one minute, seriously.
I don’t blog every day, so the One Line A Day journal is perfect. I can jot down what I did every day without having to commit to writing paragraphs. When I read what I wrote before, I can remember the exact day; I don’t think I would be able to recall what I did on one specific day of the year if not for the journal because like everyone else’s, my memory fades with time. I can only remember major things, not small details like feeling gross after eating too many walnuts (May 9, 2014), or feeling paranoid the first time I rode a bus by myself in China (February 15, 2015). Haha.
I like to remember the past, but that doesn’t mean I live in the past. I live today, but the past has brought me to where I am and who I am today. I make choices today based on past experiences, and I remember experiences by writing them down. How do you remember?