Since I was about 13 I’ve had a strong attachment to my agenda. In the beginning of the school year I’d be more excited about getting a new agenda in homeroom than seeing my friends. When I got to University I’d pick an evening after the first couple of classes and put all of the essay deadlines and quiz dates in the agenda. It’s one of the most important things that I own and bring it everywhere. “Alright,” you may be thinking, “she likes to be organized…so what?” There’s more to it than that, though.
For me, my agenda is a journal. The color coding system and specific highlighters and pens that I use are all about preserving the memories that happen. For example, one professor changed the deadline of the paper, so the line of white-out that covers the “essay due” reminder has emotions attached to it: relief, because I already had two other essays and a midterm on that day; excitement, because I had already finished the research and half the rough draft, so I now could take my time with the essay; anger, because I wished I had known this would happen when I dedicated precious time to work on it, neglecting my other classes, etc. Never thought a streak of whiteout could say so much did you?
The same kind of thing happens with the highlighters. I’ll look at the note highlighted in pink or blue and remember where I was when I wrote it, both physically and emotionally speaking. Why? How? I have no idea, but everything in my agenda holds a memory for me.
My point in all this is that there’s no definition and how a journal or diary has to look or work. For some, it’s a traditional “dear diary” record. For others, it could be a daily food and/or weight log. Or, it could be a log of your personal and/or professional expenses. Maybe it’s a letter/photo journal, or a social media account. A journal takes on many different forms and means something different to each of us.
Keeping some kind of journal is an important way to remember all of the little moments, those quick bring – a – smile – to – your – face memories that didn’t require a camera. They’re still really important, precious times that you get to keep to yourself. For example, there’s an entire page of an old agenda that is covered and doodles and coffee stains, because a good friend and I had to kill an hour between classes so we got hyper on coffee and took turns making art all over my homework list. Seeing those sketches and coffee splotches still makes me smile even if I had a hard time figuring out what my homework was through the battlefield a stickmen and smiley faces.
So what if my friends tease me for panicking when I momentarily lose my agenda? Who cares if no one else understands why highlighters and color coding are so important to me? The point is that I understand the deeper meaning to the agenda pages that lingers within the facts that I write down.
If you recognize some of what I’m saying, then you understand the significance of a journal at its purest form: a place for you to save the important times with the emotion intact, and still be able to smile as you flip through it years later. Be proud of your journal– whatever form it takes – and cherish the memories that are tangled within it.