In middle school, I started keeping a journal. It was and still is the best way for me to organize my thoughts and work through my emotions. It is a place to store memories, file away quotes and poems, reflect on articles I have read, and paste pieces of mementos I can’t bear to throw away.
These reasons are intuitive and have been at the forefront of my journaling practice over the years. But recently, I’ve been trying to make journaling something more. My friend posted a list of seven reasons to journal that got me thinking more consciously about journaling.
One of my resolutions for 2016 is to journal more. To that end, starting on May 2nd, I’m trying to journal everyday for 100 days. I’ve already missed a handful of days, but that’s not the point. The point is the practice, the intentionality, and the sustainability.
I store a lot of information online: collecting projects and recipes on Pinterest, cataloging my books on Goodreads, saving articles to read later on Pocket, posting pictures on Facebook and Flickr, microblogging my days on Instagram. It feels like the capacity to store and collect online is limitless. But that’s not true, and I think this misperception can be dangerous. Storage, on or offline, is never unlimited, and the accumulation of digital artifacts always has repercussions, as Katie Day Good notes in her article, “From Scrapbook to Facebook.” When I store things online, I get the false sense that the content will always be accessible. But if and when the internet goes down or I misplace my password or the service I am using gets bought out or puts up a pay wall, I get frustrated, unable to retrieve and use the content I so carefully curated.
Which is why I am trying to move toward supplementing my online storage with offline collection in journals. It takes intention to pull out a journal and pens to write down a quote from a book or article instead of snapping a picture of it or copying and pasting it to a Pinterest caption.
But for me, the extra time and effort has benefits. It helps me feel abundant and generative—two feelings that drive my actions and decisions. It’s a small burst of creativity in my day. It lets me have greater control over how and where my memories are stored.
And at the end of the year, this is what I want. A journal, messy and full, to hold in my hands.
How do you store your memories? Have you given thought to accumulating mementos online versus offline?