Sitting at my desk, I pull out the drawer. Under the voluminous pile of scratch paper, broken pens and pencils, and pink post-it pads, lies the screenplay of my life.
My life is contained in the pages of a journal; it is 1.5 x 7 x 6 inches. It has a plastic cover, and printed on it with faded vintage colors is the map of the world. I unravel the brown elastic band that keeps my diary secure, and open it exactly to the next blank page. On the top left corner, I write today’s date – Thursday, December 18th, 2008. On the line underneath, I record the time – 2:49 PM. And on the next line, I scribble down my location – Home, My Room, My Desk. I skip one line, and another chapter of my life is ready to begin.
When writing in your diary, you don’t need to enforce grammatical rules or follow strict rubrics. Not all entries need to be about your latest, profound philosophies. You can write (or draw) just about anything. Nothing will be considered worthless or trivial; everything you jot down is a part of who you are. You can rant about why your mom grounded you for the third time this week, dismiss your enemy’s latest fashion trend, or simply make note of the weather. According to my diary, for example, on January 5th of 2005, I was so excited that it had snowed so much in Ames, IA that I scribbled down “NO SCHOOL! NO SCHOOL! NO SCHOOL!” across the pages in capital letters.
Like the grades you receive in school, your diary keeps track of how much you’ve learned, grown, and matured. It behaves much like a camera, too, as it takes snapshots of a specific moment in your life and allows you to relive glimpses of your own past. But above all, your diary extracts the very essence of who you are; it captures your personality, your voice, your life.
So I believe in keeping diaries. I believe in diaries because they are evidence I exist. They are proof that I am one of the trillions of people inhabiting Earth other than my legal documents. With each word and each picture I draw on the pages of my journal, I leave the world with a piece of myself. When I write, I make history. If I never documented anything, if I never wrote about what my first kiss felt like or what prompted my life-changing epiphany, then a few years down the line, how will I remember it all? How will I remember the events that contributed to shape the person I am today? How will I remember who I was?
People forget, but paper does not. So write it down.
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