At the end of each day, as the sun goes to bed and so do I, I sit down with my journal and a pen and write. I write about the weather, what I learned that day, and what I accomplished. I write about my garden and what I planted. I write about what frustrated me that day, or what changes I might need to make. Sometimes, I just write what comes out.
I believe that writing is different when it’s pen to paper. I write a lot on the computer but there’s just something about journaling that is much more satisfying. It’s more personal and for me, ultimately more productive. For the past seven years I’ve kept a journal and I love looking back on all of my thoughts, lessons, plans, travels and general life that evolves over time.
When I’m travelling, I bring my journal along and I try to jot down a few things each day – where we went, what we ate, who we might have met, etc. I also carry an instant camera with me so I can include photos of the places we’ve visited, whether it’s a cute small town or a memorable view.
I feel that it’s important for me to document life on the farm in some sort of hard-copy format, too. I have learned so much over the past two years of farm life and most of those lessons can be found in my journals.
Looking back, I can recount the time the pigs took themselves on a field trip off the farm. I can look back on the first time we visited the farm, before we ever moved there, and how amazed I was that we would be living there. I can laugh at the silly and lovely things that the animals do, like the time that a baby lamb fell asleep on its mother’s back. I can roll my eyes at the countless times we’ve run into an issue and had to drop absolutely everything to deal with it.
This year, I also started to document my planting process so I would have something to reference next time I plan my garden. I document what I planted and when, what has worked well and what hasn’t, and what my goals are for next year. I map out my garden in my journal. I took some progress photos which I hope to print off and put in my journal as well. I think for the next planting season I’ll actually start an entirely separate journal dedicated solely to my garden.
I remember when my Nana passed away my mom showed me the box of journals that my Nana kept. She wrote in a day planner and every day she jotted down the weather and some sort of recount of what happened that day. It was never a long passage, simply a few sentences, but you could look back on the entire year of what she did and it brought a real sense of the type of person she was. It was a way to connect with her again once she was gone.
I hope that some of my journals will be looked back on by my future children as well. When I look back on my own journal entries, I learn things again, I remember how I felt that particular day, and I am proud of myself for accomplishing so many things. A few years ago I wrote out a list of my goals and today, I’ve accomplished them all. It’s a very satisfying feeling to have that physical evidence of my progress.
Most of my friends roll their eyes at the thought of keeping a journal. They don’t have the time, or patience, or just don’t feel the need to do so. I tend to disagree. I try to make the time. During the whole COVID-19 breakout, I documented the different things that happened daily. One day, that will be part of history. One day, my journals will be like the books of my life, a memoire of sorts. I encourage anyone and everyone to keep a journal, even if it’s just one or two sentences a day. You might learn something, and you might discover things about yourself that you never knew before. If nothing else, it’s a nice place for a doodle or a good catharsis.