I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.” ― Gwendolen, The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
Fewer things horrify me more than looking back through my diary. This is partly because it’s pretty horrifying to look back over your life and think “Lacks action” and “needs a plot with more direction.”
Looking back over mine, even with two years in Albania and several years in Japan, I’m always shocked at all the wasted time and all the whining over skinned knees and broken hearts. Even worse is the horrifying sameness. There’s a long period after I got settled into Japan where all the daily posts started with either “Ordinary day” or “Okay day.” Those went on so long that I pretty much stopped recording anything. Mind, you this means that my time in Japan was ordinary but safe and I was protected from living in “interesting times”.
This is also because, as I’ve mentioned before, I find diaries to be largely a waste of time. It’s lots of time and energy spent sending daily letters to yourself. (Unlike blogs which are time and energy spent on sending letters to yourself and a few other people and the kind bots that keep your inbox filled with semi-coherent spam so you know that at least something cares.)
On the other hand, when interesting things do happen in my life, I tend not to write about them for a long time. This means my diaries have long blank periods often spanning years. Although I have an entry on proposing to She Who Must Be Obeyed, I don’t have an entry about any of our three wedding ceremonies. I also don’t have entries on the births of either daughter. I didn’t write one about my father’s death until two months after he was buried and even then it was part of a “Wow, a lot of stuff has happened” entry.
For the most part, anything I have resembling a diary falls under the category of what I call a “confusion journal”. Periodically, usually several months apart, when events and emotions swirl, I’ll sit down and vent with pen and ink and that can usually calm me down and give me some perspective.
One time I realized how boring my complaints were and actually fell asleep whilst writing about them. That’s right, I’m so boring some times I can cure my own insomnia.