Lately, reminders of my strong belief in the importance and value of journaling have appeared everywhere. It began a few weeks ago when I received an email from an online journaling service called OhLife stating they were shutting down their business. Unfortunately, they were unable to grow their user base or make OhLife financially stable. By way of background, OhLife was created to help people remember the day-to-day ‘goings on’ in one’s life by emailing you old entries you’d made, which you would reply to with a new entry from the current day.
Although I never relied on OhLife for a permanent format of journaling, I often looked forward to the short statements (or high bit of emotion with exclamations attached!) of where I was in my life be it 6 weeks or 636 days ago. Even so, I was always aware of the simple fact: these online entries would never be read by my children, grandchildren or anyone else in later years. Who was I fooling? This was an online service. OhLife wasn’t offering a bond book with bits from the past 5 years of my life. Which is why I continued to keep a journal on a daily basis. I like to be reminded that a year ago I was in Paris with Nick on this very day (ahh, deep breath) and two years ago I was contemplating an online boutique (so pleased it came to fruition!).
Again I was reminded of the importance of keeping a journal after spending a few days with my Uncle Will-Bill who has dementia. He recalls bits and pieces of his younger years but, sadly, it’s slowly fading. Thankfully he kept a journal from his 20’s and 30’s which we promised to read together the next time I visit him in Ely. This is his history seen through his writing, found in the books he carried through Europe, Russia, Moab, and the Boundary Waters. These are the years which made him the strong and sweet man he is today. I want to remember these years, his history.
In the end, OhLife had the right intentions by providing an easy service for us online geeks to type out our daily activities. But why not grab a pen, say right before falling asleep, and jot down a few thoughts or activities from the day..highs or lows, dreams, expectations, goals you crossed off your forever long list, frustrations, joys, surprises, disappointments, the pleasure of your morning coffee or you child crawling into bed with you in the middle of the night. Bits of what makes your life yours. And ones you’d like to look back later in life, whatever it may bring.