Day 23,672: Diary Darlings

As a young child, I received a red diary with a key. I sometimes wrote in it, and more often did not. I never was big on journaling and have resisted all forms of accountability in writing for as long as possible.  I know that’s strange since I mostly write for a living, but perhaps because I always had to meet writing deadlines, creating more didn’t seem like fun.

Times have now changed. I keep at least three different types of notebooks, which are not exactly diaries, but do require some daily scribbling. There’s this daily digital stream of consciousness, my food journal, and my blog idea notebook.

My food diary was first prescribed by the Bright Line eating program, and now by my endocrinologist. Bright Line required the journal for personal accountability. The endocrinologist wants it so she can figure out what I’m eating.  The Bright Line team was smarter about journals than the MD, knowing that to truly adopt it, it had to be convenient, appealing, and fit my lifestyle. I got to choose the diary of choice. My MD simply gave me sheaths of 8.5×11 papers that don’t fit neatly into anything and are too much of a hassle. I track my food, but in the pocket diary of my choice. I may transcribe it to her pages before the next visit, but likely not. She’ll have to deal, or I’ll have to drop her.

Sidenote Suggestion: Take a break and read the book Diary of Wimpy Kid, or just see the movie. It will brighten your day.

Many New Age Thinkers believe in Gratitude Journals, where you write down 3-5 things each day for which you’re grateful. Some, like JJ Virgin, start their day with gratitude. Others, such as Susan Pierce-Thompson do it at the end of the day and use a five-year journal so they can look back on how they felt this day in other years. I don’t have a gratitude journal, but I do try to think of 5 things I’m grateful for each night just as my head hits the pillow and before I close my eyes.

One type of accountability journal I totally hate is a money log. I don’t keep one. My stepfather was a strong believer in them, but they felt like a noose around my mother’s neck. Instead, she taught me (as women before taught her) to save money in an account that allows a woman freedom to spend on those things she sees fit without getting into fitful encounters.

Budgeting is a positive thing, but I don’t do well with it in my personal life. When younger, there was never enough money, so budgeting just seemed depressing, and yet I always did get to afford things in the long run. I don’t recommend against budgeting, it’s just one thing I always did in my head instead of on paper, except for budgets at work, of course. At work, I’m very detailed with an excel spreadsheet detailing every expense against budget for my department – something I learned years ago when always having to defend expenses monthly to the CFO. It has served me well at many a job since.

And so, as I get older, it seems I’m chronicling things more rather than less. I’m not sure why. It could be:

  1. I’ve developed a greater sense of discipline.
  2. I finally see the value in some of it, and look at it as self-imposed rather than imposed from others.
  3. That technology has given us blogging, which didn’t exist in my younger years, or
  4. All of the above.

This is what I do know. It’s regime, not a habit. It’s a skill not an exercise. It does impose accountability. So, for now, I’m a diary diva – delving deeply down the rabbit hole of journals. It’s an interesting journey.