Five Lessons Learned from One Line a Day

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.

The lessons we learn from one journal, 5 years, and one line a day.

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.

Can I link the video for Dreams Can Come True again? Too much to reference that song twice in a year? How about Gloria Estefan Reach? Miley Cyrus The Climb?

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,


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55 thoughts on “Five Lessons Learned from One Line a Day

  1. I’ve worked in a couple of bookstores and have always looked at these, but have never picked one up. I probably should. I’m glad your dream is coming true! I’ve only just started (a week in) and really enjoy blogging on WordPress so far.

    P.S. “The Climb” is always an appropriate choice. 😉

    Best! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome to WordPress!! I’m glad that you are enjoying it! I’m really still a newbie too (10 months in) but so far so good. Glad you enjoyed The Climb reference, its been stuck in my head for a week now… haha!


    • Thanks so much! If you decide to go for it I hope that you enjoy it! It’s really rewarding and so low commitment. The one I used was just a regular journal that I added dates to but I’ll be using the Mom’s One Line a Day journal when I start the next one in 2018.


  2. “I did make enough money to buy several gallons of milk through blogging this year.” > YES! Well done! You are living the dream 😉

    *After I wrote that, I scrolled back and read the part about angel babies. That is so sweet and heartfelt…I feel like I should probably delete the first part of my comment. But I also don’t want to scrub away the kudos for making some cash.

    So, I’m afraid you have to make do with this slightly yo-yo style comment!! Here’s to 2018!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! And thanks for the shout out in your great blog post this week. I love the On This Day from Facebook too. Today there was a picture of my son getting ready for his first Christmas, melt my heart.


  3. I love this so much! I used to journal way more frequently and it is really great to be able to go back and look at these things! I love how you have so many good, hard, and just real life memories here!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I absolutely love this idea!

    I’ve actually been doing something similar for the past 5 (soon to be 6 years I think). Regardless of how bad my day is I write down at least 3 things that went well that day. I do this everyday.

    Then at the end of the year (usually a week before the New Year). I go through all of my grateful notes (that’s what I call them) and make a list of all the good things that happened to me that year in my journal. This little exercise reminds me how blessed I am. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Totally! The one I’m finishing up I actually just made myself with a nice hardcover notebook. The one I’m starting next is a Mother’s One Line a Day Journal (I think the same one linked in the post.) The space looks a little smaller in that one so I’ll need to adjust my handwriting and/or stop messing up so often to take up less space!


    • There are days here and there that I miss for sure but I go back and fill in. I was never a journal writer before but I like how quick this one is! Even if I’m wiped at the end of the day I know it just takes a minute to do.


    • Thanks so much for reading! I do a one page review at the end of the year too. Takes a little more time to write that up but I found it’s a good way to take some time and read back over some of the one lines I’ve written throughout the year.


  5. I love that idea! You’re going to treasure those journals for years to come! I’m so sorry for your losses, but I’m glad you have them commemorated in your journal. Thank you so much for sharing and I’m glad you’re living your dream.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope that you give it a try! Totally low commitment but with a big impact. And yes, I’ll probably laugh at myself seeing how excited I was about getting a robot vacuum in 2015… 🙂


    • I think the fact that you typed in Tina Fey just boosted SEO and thereby boosted my chances of Tina Fey reading this and wanting to be friends. For good measure, Tina Fey, Tina Fey, Tina Fey. 🙂 Good looking out- thank you!!


  6. Pingback: Goal setting as a stay at home mom can be SMART and attainable

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