I have an annou ncement to make: three months into 2014 I am still going strong with my New Year’s resolution. I commend those of you who don’t share this problem, but for whatever reason I rarely follow through. I resolved to write a journal entry every day of 2014. And 2015, and 2016, and 2017, and 2018. A five-year resolution, you ask? Well, while doing some last minute Christmas shopping with my friend, we came across the “Q&A a day: 5-Year Journal.” Each page lists the month and day, and below that offers five sections of three lines each. The sections of lines provide a spot to fill in the current year followed by your answer. It’s like a time capsule to keep track of how your opinions, concerns, and feelings change over the course of five years. A little daunting, but intriguing enough for me to decide that I should buy myself a stocking stuffer.
I’ll be the first to admit that every now and then there’s a piddling question that I don’t care to answer. For instance, “Are you wearing socks?” (July 16). Does that really matter? No, but there are enough questions to make the trivial ones worth my time. Some even apply to literature and creative writing. For example, every October 26 I have to answer: “How are you? Write it in a rhyming couplet.” On July 11 I’ll be asked, “If you were a literary character, who would you be?” Others are more personal, some less serious. I’m especially looking forward to tracking how many stamps are in my passport on August 11 of each year.
While these entries differ from a traditional journal’s, a sentence a day is still a great way to chronicle your year. When I studied in Florence the summer before my sophomore year in high school, my grandparents gave me a travel journal. My Nana told me, “You don’t have to write a lot each day, but you should write something each day. Even just one sentence will trigger enough memories when you revisit your journal.” I completed her task for the few weeks I was abroad, and after flipping through the journal years later I realized she was right. So although this form of journaling is unusual, it will hopefully result in a similar outcome.
The objective of this, or any journal, is to find some continuity in an ever-changing life. I am guaranteed to have at least one constant for the next five years, and that is something I find comforting. It is too early to tell how my answers are changing, but in the next five years I hope to learn more about myself, to see how my opinions have shifted, and to track how my writing has evolved. It is worth exploring a new form of writing, and it is important to write every day.
Do you journal? Is it a daily activity, or reserved for days when something significant happens? Would this 5-year journal appeal to you?