One of the things that annoys me most about the end of the year also has me glued to every show that talks about it: Greatest (or Worst) Whatever from the Year Behind! Why do we have such a fascination with these lists? We love lists – we are obsessed with lists. Lists make life a little more manageable by breaking big things into small pieces so we can digest them in some way or other than makes some sort of sense to us. So, heaven help us, the year winds down and here come the lists!
Which lists are your favorites? This is a crummy year for the list of the celebrities who died since I am getting older and I know more of the names and faces than I ever have before. This list used to belong to my parents, but I guess now it belongs to our generation. The lists of films are so nicely organized for us that they even have their own network awards shows. You can, I am told, even find a list of the greatest scandals and most meaningful moments of the year if you are so inclined. And while all of this is terribly fun and interesting, it isn’t exactly relevant to most of our lives. I am interested in relevance – how about you?
What’s on your end of the year lists? Shiniest moments? Funniest mistake? Do you actually write down your memories of the year, or do you talk them over with friends and family and gear up to take on the next 12 months?
I am usually a gear up and get on with it person when it comes to memories of the year. We have some great pictures, but I am not a dedicated chronicler of events. Our 9-year-old writes everything down. She has multiple diaries going at any given time and I live in fear of the day that she puts them all into chronological order and published her memoirs. Hopefully she will change the names to protect the family honor. Probably not – she’s pretty honest and proud. Still, I think it is actually a great thing that she is writing information onto paper. I have seen others do it and as a concept I support the process.
What’s her generation going to do if we all go paperless and everything is digital? It is going to be a fairly boring trip to the National Archives a century from now if all we get to see is a collection of printed emails. So, if you are journaling – thank you. We need people with the patience and handwriting to write down what is happening. Yours is a disappearing art and we are all better for its practice. I just finished reading some of the love letters my grandparents sent to each other in the 1940’s and they were incredibly moving – but they really would have been pretty lousy as printed emails.
Do you journal? How do you commemorate your personal or family history? And, is electronic just as good as handwritten?