Happy New Year – Grab a Pen!

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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?



  1. says

    I used to write in journals when I was younger and I’m so glad I did because I can look back at them and reminisce. I now keep a journal but it’s more for writing daily affirmations.

  2. says

    I’ve seen the idea to make a ‘milestones’ jar at the beginning of the year to read on New Year’s eve and I am definitely going to do it this year ! I am mildly obsessed with the look-back year end best and worst lists, I have no idea why, but I agree that people are drawn to lists for whatever fascination! lol

  3. says

    i dont have a journal however i do try and write my thoughts and ideas as much as possible. when i was younger i used to write songs. shame really, id love to write some now, i guess better grab a pen

  4. says

    I don’t keep a personal diary or journal. I think I stopped doing this when I got my first job and no longer had the time- I am not sure why I never started writing a journal again!

  5. says

    I love the statement you made ” am interested in relevance”. Many a time we are carried away by irrelevant things but must consciously bring ourselves to the things that matter. I do not do journals but after reading this I would give it a try – In your words, I’d GRAB A PEN!

  6. says

    I love the statement you made “I am interested in relevance”… Truth be told we are many a time carried away by irrelevant things but must consciously bring ourselves to the things that matter. I do not do journals but after reading this I might as well give it a try.

  7. says

    I’ve been a writer long before the internet, like your daughter I was that girl that wrote down everything. In High School I had a calendar that I would only write down what I wore. lol

    Life hasn’t changed much for me in that regard. I am OCD and list make my life complete. lol I didn’t do a list per say on the blog but I recapped the year.

  8. says

    I debate this all the time! I have an email account where I send my son emails about what is going on in our lives and the world, and someday I will give him the account. I did an email account because it is easier for me to write a quick email and send it rather than write a letter. But that makes me kind of said. I have been trying to hand write stuff and set it aside for him too.

  9. says

    I guess my blog is my journal of sorts. I told my kids that when I die, they will have all my recipes from the blog. :) My sister actually printed out all my blog recipes and make recipe books for her son and daughter. I’m a list lover and you’re right, knowing the list of names of the celebs that died this year is kinda depressing.

  10. says

    I never really thought about how the digital age would affect our recorded history. “Just google it” or “Ask Siri” are so common in our family. We do write notes to each other and leave them on the fridge, but sadly, I have stopped journaling since I started blogging.

  11. says

    I wish I could slow down and do a little journaling for my children and grandchildren. I did keep a journal all through high school, but after I wed and started having children that all ended. My daughter, however, does keep a journal as part of our homeschool routine.

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