Obsessive Record Keeping: The Need for Journals and More

journalOn January 25th I bought a new journal. I have been a relatively consistent record keeper (journal writer) since the age of 15. I use the term record keeper so as to crush the stereotype of journal keeping. Most think of journals as notebooks like the one I bought yesterday in which they write daily or weekly events, feelings, etc. I argue that writing in a notebook is only one form of journal keeping.

My record keeping has taken many shapes. Many of my journals are 3 ring binders in which I include printed emails and articles. I often insert wedding announcements, cards, letters, and newspaper comics. I’m certain that all of my speeding tickets are clipped into my journals. Other records of mine include photo albums of various sorts. Over the years these have turned from physical books with inserted pictures to CDs and DVDs with backups of pictures over the years but they are records none the less. I have often thought of this, my own blog as a form of journal. It was on the day that I decided that I wrote this blog for my own benefit instead of the benefit of others that I began to enjoy the writing. Other forms of journals for me would be the movie reviews I write on my Flixster profile and the Book reviews I keep on my GoodReads profile. A good number of Facebook notes would also qualify. I try to make it a habit of printing and archiving each of those in a three ring binder too. I suppose that any organized collection of personal content could be considered a journal.

Why do we feel the need to keep records about our lives? It seems to be an inherent part of human nature to keep track of things. I suppose that it could be a natural sense of pride that drives us to believe that our lives are of enough importance to warrant recording. Perhaps it is the belief that the mere process of recording our thoughts and actions can be therapeutic. I also believe that there is something inherent in human nature that drives us to know about our own past. As I get older, my thirst for knowledge about my own family’s past, my country’s past, and the ancient past of the world grows. It could perhaps be that thirst that drives me to keep a journal that I might believe deep down could benefit my own posterity.

Whatever the reason is I have found that without a doubt, the times in my life when I’m most productive and most on task with my goals and my inner purpose; are the times when I’m keeping up in my journal keeping.

I wish all of you great journal / record keeping luck and tools that will help you stay on purpose and build a personal legacy for yourself and for your posterity.

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