On journaling AKA creating opportunities

Motivation

I finally started to write a personal journal. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I keep forgetting things. Thinking about two selves, I’ve realized that I primarily live for the experiencing self. I tend to live in the moment and not leave memories for the remembering self. Sure, I remember major events in my life, but my day to day is a blur. Even major events can be a blur.

I went to Europe two years ago for vacation. I remember the major things I saw, but not how I felt about them at the time. I’ve forgotten minor events. I’m a huge drinker of Pelligrino and sparkling water in general. On the trip, I remember drinking some brand of sparkling water that was amazing. What was the brand? No idea. If I had remembered or written it down, I could look it up. Chances are it’s not available in the states (for a reasonable price), so I wouldn’t drink it anyway. Still, my memory failed me.

My memory has failed me for work related stuff as well. I’ve been working on a large project at work for 2+ years at this point. We’ve done a lot of stuff, but I’m not sure when certain things got accomplished. That makes retrospecting difficult. What did we work on 6 months ago? Was it the most important thing at the time? Granted, retrospecting on something you did 6 months ago may not be the most valuable use of time. Still, I wish I remembered so that I could if I wanted to.

Memory gives you opportunities. It can be the opportunity to remember a fond vacation. It can be the opportunity to write some quick code instead of googling for the snippet again. It can be an opportunity to curse yourself for making a decision you regret. Consequently, forgetting things limits you. I may not take an opportunity, but I want to make sure it’s there.

There were a few recent events that made me finally do it.

  • I read Zach Holman’s blog post about journaling. I mentioned in the first post that this blog wouldn’t be original. This post is mostly a repeat of Zach Holman’s, with my own personal anecdotes of forgetting things. Reading it gave me some motivation to journal myself. Then I decided to blog about it. Will you do the same?

  • My sister introduced me to Serial. I only listened to first half of the first episode, but it was a fun listen. Not sure if I’ll actually finish it, but the first episode mentioned forgetting the mundane things in life. There is no way I can remember what I did 3 weeks ago on Friday afternoon. I can barely remember last Friday. If I journal it, there will be some documentation of my life. No one (including me) may ever read what I did that Friday afternoon, but at least the opportunity to do so will be there.

Implementation

Currently it’s just a bunch of text files in Dropbox. I’d like to move it to better place at some point, but it’s a simple thing that works for now. I’ve wanted to start writing a journal for years, but didn’t find a good spot to store it. I actually started a project to store personal notes in the cloud encrypted, but I’ve been working on and off on that project for a year and a half at this point. How much knowledge have I lost in that time frame? I finally decided to get something out there for now. I can always move it later.

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