Monday, 4 January 2010

Keeping a Record of the Year

Happy New Year!

As we start off another year, I've got my 2010 diary all set, birthdays written in and forthcoming appointments noted. As much as I like using my phone and email for day-to-day matters, I haven't yet made the transition to using an online calendar and still like to have a physical diary to carry around and look through to see what's coming up.

I've gone through phases with diaries, from detailing everything with my thoughts for each day, to keeping it plain and simple as just a record of appointments  and notable dates or reminders. Last year I started what I think is a nice compromise between the two and began a one-sentence journal, as suggested by Gretchen Rubin of the Happiness Project. I think it's a great way to commit to keeping a diary without feeling like it is a chore to write something. Your one sentence can be as basic, literal or abstract as you like. In addition, I make a note of any classes I go to, any exercise I do and friends I meet up with.

My mother kept a sporadic diary and a couple of years ago came across one that she'd written when I was about age 5. It was really interesting to read what she'd written. Notes about a particularly heavy snowfall that year, me being ill and my dad working late, meals she'd cooked and randomly, the cost of some groceries. It was a good example of how things that seem like mere everyday details to you, can prove enlightening insight for another generation.

On a slightly different note, but still on the topic of keeping a record of the year, is the baby book. I was given one by a family friend around the birth of my son and it's a book to record all the notable developments from his first year of life. I wasn't always good about updating it in a timely fashion and I have to admit that it was often my husband telling me that I should 'write that down in the baby book' that got me to write in it before we both forgot when our son did something for the first time! I took advantage of the Christmas holiday to finish it off and aside from adding a few photos, it's now complete.

My mother-in-law kept meticulous records of both her children's first years. If I ever ask her when my husband first did anything, she can refer to it and tell me precisely what age he was and in what context it occurred. Again, a great example of how meaningful a record of a year can be.

Some people use blogging as a way to journal or keep track of their activities, hobbies or skills. My mother is a keen gardener and almost self-sufficient with her extensive fruit and vegetable garden in the south of France. She's planning on starting a blog this year following the planting, growing and fruition stages of her garden. Whilst I don't have my own garden and am not particularly green-fingered myself, I will be enthused to see what she is working on and producing. I can also appreciate that it's the kind of record a future generation would be interested in reading, as an insight into how a grandmother/great-grandmother spent her time.

Writing a diary or however you choose to record a year, is a great gift to future generations. No need to make it feel like a creative project, even the smallest details or the things that seem totally uninspired to you can reveal something fascinating for someone else. If you're not already, maybe you want to think about keeping a simple record for 2010. The one-sentence journal is an ideal way to do this if you feel reluctant about it, are pressed for time or not sure how to start.

Do you keep a diary or any kind of record for the year? Have you done a good job of noting details of your children's developments and achievements?
photo credit


  1. Well, I had no intention of keeping a diary this year (had not given it any thought actually), but am completly inspired now. No better time than the start of a new year. I too love finding tidbits from my childhood no matter how mundane they seem. Such a great keepsake for my children. Thanks for the idea- I'm going right now to start! I also love the idea that just one sentence is enough :)

  2. I used to keep diaries when I was a teenager - pages full of angst and joy (mostly over boys) and looking back over them is both wonderful and cringworthy all at the same time!

    I've also done the baby book thing for my two, but I have to confess I've not thought about keeping a diary for myself. Like Tiffany I have to say I'm tempted - particularly the one sentence idea... kinda like twitter (but offline) eh?

  3. I'm glad you are now both thinking about keeping a diary for 2010!

    Lucy - good comparison with Twitter, I hadn't thought about it that way but you're right.


Thank you for reading. I'd love to have your comments and thoughts!