Several years ago, my good friend and neighbor, Gary Petersen, told me that his journal contains everything, not just his words. After he explained his concept to me, I took it to heart and have made my journal a combination scrapbook, memory book, keepsake album, and journal. In fact, the only things that don’t go in my journal are pictures. I knew long ago that there was not enough time in this life for me to keep cute little scrapbooks of all the memorabilia, so my yearly journals take care of it all!
I keep my journal in – OF COURSE, a binder!!! I can usually squeeze the whole year into one binder, but there was one traumatic year in my life when I needed two! I use sheet protectors so odd-sized items can just be slipped right in and so I can see both sides of the cards I save. I start the year with an empty binder, fill it with sheet protectors, keep the binder right by my desk, then put things inside as they happen. When the year is over, my life is in the binder chronologically – and it is so easy!
So I picked a random journal from my shelf (2004) and besides my written journal, here is a sampling of what was in it:
The printed monthly calendar from my computer with appointments, etc.
My goals for the year – interesting to read, as they are always variations on the same theme
A heartfelt note from my California daughter thanking me for Christmas
A weekly update of events when individual days were a little too boring to write about
Closeup of a scarf my daughter made for me
An email from a friend about growing old
A certificate of achievement for completing a Power Point class
Thank you note for a genealogy presentation I gave to a group
Artwork the grandkids left in the playroom
A newsletter announcing our family reunion
The schedule from BYU Women’s Conference
Mother’s Day cards from my girls
A bridal shower invitation for a special young friend
A map of Sun Valley, Idaho from a getaway weekend with my husband
Confirmation itinerary for a flight to California with a daughter and granddaughter
The lab results from my blood test confirming low thyroid
A list of 12 items my oldest granddaughter requested for her birthday dinner
The “to do” list for an especially hectic week
Notes for my husband’s talk at the funeral for our friend, Mavis
A thank you note and picture of the VISA card a coworker gave me for Christmas
The playbill and ticket for Wonderful Town seen in New York City with my cousin and my daughters
A “sorry” note from 3 grandkids after they accidentally pulled a curtain rod off the wall
A note entitled “Grandma’s Apron” that accompanied a Christmas gift from a friend
The top news stories of the year in Utah and another list for the nation
Just looking through that one binder brought back a flood of memories, some good laughs, some tears, and several “ahhhs.” But I still think the most important thing to put in a journal is your own word – your thoughts, feelings, joys, sorrows, what makes you YOU! Your journal won’t be anything like mine because our personalities are not the same — and lucky for you! But at least this gives you a hint of what’s possible. Leave a record of your life so you won’t be forgotten in 50 years (or less)!