As a child I kept a diary. Every minute detail of my day would be scribbled down in fat felt tip into the wire bound fairy book I had been given as a birthday present. Every time I went on holiday with my family I would use my separate ‘holiday diary’, until one day, it just stopped.
I didn’t pick up the pen anymore. I wrote stories and plays, acted out with my little sister but never wrote about myself, about what I was doing. A few years ago I discovered these diaries again, their sparkling pink and purple covers, ruffled pages and worn spines. And I read. I read every last word I had leaked all those years ago. I read all my fears, my worries, my experiences and how I felt then. All the things which were so important have now become meaningless. It made me want to write about myself like that again.
So with all the optimism and motivation in the world I bought myself a brand new diary, this time no sparkles, plain, brown, classy, simple. I think I wrote 3 entries.
I wish the young woman I am today had all the time, the spirit and the care that I did as a young child. I wish I wrote about myself so easily. But I simply don’t. Once a day just never quite makes it, it makes writing a chore when I force myself to do so in such a way.
In December 2013 I came up with a much more manageable way of writing about myself and to myself. Once a year. I would keep a diary once a year. And so far, three years down the line, it has.
On the 1st of January every single year I am to write to myself, and I do. I write a letter of the change I hope to see, who I am, how I feel, what I hope, what I dread. It is magical reading back my last few letters, seeing how much I have developed and changed, how much happier I am.
Writing to the self is a really important thing to do, I feel, even if it’s only occasionally. It helps you place who you were at that time and track the changes not only in your life but also in your self.
I’d really recommend it to any student, perhaps rather than writing New Year’s Resolutions which often end up making you feel guilty rather than making active changes in your life. This way, you are doing something productive, plus laying out your hopes for the future. I found when I didn’t meet goals I had written about in my letter that they didn’t seem so important any more and when I had met them I felt accomplished. I love that 12 months down the line you have completely forgotten what you have written and what it was you hoped for last January.
So get writing! It’s not too late! I usually try to write mine New Year’s Day but last year I think it ended up being around the 3rd or 4th. Give it a go and you may start a new New Year’s Tradition.