Five years ago I started a “One Line a Day” memory journal. Each page has a date at the top with lines for five years. Every day I write down one line about something that happened that day. From monumental moments to that one day I seriously wrote about my vacuum(??), it’s all documented.
As we close out five years of this journal, I realize that this process has taught me five pretty important lessons.
Lesson 1: Editing is important.
Entry from February 2013: Jury duty got cancelled.
Their There was some random traffic getting home so that was a little frusterating.
Guys, you would not want to read this journal… The grammar and spelling are downright brutal. Even more brutal than this blog. And to add insult to injury, the content? Yikes… Quite often I’m relaying one liners about how I could really use a new gray sweater, musings on potty training, or various riffs on “I’m tired.”
I’m glad that I have this journal, specifically for lessons 2 through 4, but I’m also glad that I’ve managed to be more entertaining in edited paragraph form. So yeah, lesson one: free form writing has it’s place, tucked safely away in your drawer. For anything you’re interneting, give that a second pass for plot holes and their/there/they’re.
Lesson 2: Dreams do come true.
Entry from November 2014: Maybe someday I could have a second career as a comedy writer.
I’ve fancied myself as hilarious for a while now apparently. And while it isn’t a career, I did make enough money to buy several gallons of milk through blogging this year. And more importantly, I’m putting my energy towards my own version of self-care. My family, my friends, my day job – they are all insanely important to me and they have my heart. But writing silly stories, that’s my own little corner in my own little room. I’m glad that several years ago I wrote down that I wanted to write funny things and that today I spend a lot of my time writing funny things. That’s a win.
Lesson 3: Painful memories matter.
Entry from July 2013: We lost the baby. I feel like we’re in a nightmare.
There was more. I can’t bring myself to type it all out honestly. But that memory written down matters. It matters so much. And so do the entries from October 2013. And January 2014.
Painful memories are part of our fabric, just like our angel babies are part of our family. Do I like getting to those pages again each year? No. It sucks. And I cry as I write something totally inconsequential like what I had for dinner that night on one of the lines below. But as the years progress, I want those memories to have their place. My angel babies didn’t get birthdays, but they each have a day. And they matter.
Lesson 4: My heart is very full.
Entries from February 2015 and June 2016: Happy Birth Day, Jack! Welcome to the world, Norah!
Alright, probably a given that I love those pages. They capture the moment I become “Mama.” And then the moment our family was made whole. And the moments that the earth gained the two most incredible people to every grace it’s presence. #You’reWelcome.
I love the days right before and right after their birthdays too. We didn’t know the sex of either of our kids before they were born, so the days leading up to their births were filled with anticipation and “he/she/baby.” Then all of a sudden the baby had a name. And a sweet face. And totally overwhelmed parents who desperately wanted to shower. These little humans have changed our world, and they are our world. If there is a story to tell from the past five years it is Jack and Norah. I’m so glad to have their earliest moments sleepily chicken scratched onto paper.
Lesson 5: Handwriting is a lost art.
Entry from March 2016: Election Day in MA…. incoherent scribble… primary voting.… more gibberish… put my support… did I catch a 9er in there?
Good Lord, Becca… is that a t, i, l, or a cave drawing? I’m very thankful for computers. And spell check. But fortunately most lines are legible and I’ve learned that there is something to be said for putting pen to paper on the regular. It’s good for the hand muscles. Particularly as it relates to Christmas card envelope writing training. And for teaching my children to dot their i’s. When did I get too busy and important to dot my i’s??
That’s All She Wrote
This journal is going into a drawer in a couple weeks and I’ll start a new one. I can’t imagine what the next five years will bring. If I were to guess I would say a decent amount of eating lasagna and buying my kids new sneakers. But maybe I’ll meet Tina Fey on April 27, 2019. Or maybe my husband will give me the best hug in the history of hugs and we’ll be published in the Guinness Book of World Records on September 17, 2021. Or maybe my kids will teach me what it is to be kind, and brave, and generous every day of these next five years. I think I’ll want to write that down.
With the highest of hopes for your new year,
Want your own one line a day journal? A gift for someone who likes memories? Check out some options available on Amazon. (Affiliate Links)