If you are like me, you probably don’t remember what you you were doing last week, let alone trying to remember the details of your vacation a year (or longer) ago. So many details of our life get lost in the depths of our mind as hours, days, and years go by. Even the details of major or exciting life events diminish over time.
Writing is a powerful way to combat those lost memories. There is so much that can be recovered and preserved by just jotting down a few thoughts in a journal. But in our fast-paced society, I find that most people don’t have the time or energy at the end of a long day to sit down and record their thoughts (myself included). I have found that there are some easy ways to record your favorite moments and memories without having to put a lot of time or effort into it. See below for some creative (and easy!) ideas:
1. Memory/Gratitude Jar
I started my own memory jar just after New Year’s after reading this article, which gave me the idea. And I have really been keeping up with it! The idea behind a memory jar is pretty simple. You get any type of jar (I used a mason jar) and you write down special memories as they occur, date them, and stick them in the jar. These memories can be major milestones or simply positive memories. Other people I have talked to use it as a gratitude jar and will write down something they are grateful for. Then at the end of your year you can pull out all the special memories you had throughout the year.
2. One Line a Day Journal
This is another easy way to record one memory from every day. The typical idea is that the journal has one page for each day and a total of five separate spaces on the page. Each space is dedicated for that day each year. The journal is meant for you to write a thought down each day over the course of five years so you could see what you were doing on that exact day one, two, three, four, or five years ago. These journals are easy to find in major bookstores, specialty stores like Francesca’s, or online.
3. Travel Journal
If you don’t find it realistic that you will write things down about daily life, then try to record memories from those special places you visit over the course of a year. Vacations or day-trips often provide unique and exciting experiences and you will typically be in a better frame of mind to want to record your experiences. My sister started her own travel journal and would write down everything she did over the course of each vacation day. It’s also a good place to post your tickets and post-cards that are collected.
4. Create an album from your Instagram or Facebook photos with captions
I realize this is more visual than written, but it’s something I did about a month ago with my Instagram/Facebook photos from 2014, and I am so glad I did. It isn’t something you have to do frequently, even just once a year is enough. It can be an easy afternoon project completed in one day. Most people have a record of special events over the course of a year through their social media profiles. All you have to do is print out your pictures and put them into an album and give each picture a simple caption. It’s an easy way to transfer your online memories into tangible ones. Then you can put that album out on your coffee table or bookshelf which will help you have easier access to those memories as the years pass and those pictures get pushed further back into the Facebok/Instagram cemetery. There are tons of apps from the CVS photo mobile app to the My Kodak Moments app which make it so simple to transfer your social media photos to be printed out at a local kiosk.
I personally enjoy writing about my travels. There is no greater joy for me than the experience of seeing a new place. Each post I compose on my own blog brings me right back to the places I have been. I am so glad that I recorded almost everything I did while I was studying abroad in Europe. That’s the main reason I’m able to put this new blog together, because I have such a large bank of memories and photos to pull from. I love finding myself at the top of the Eiffel Tower, or the edge of the cliffs in Edinburgh, or feeling the sun on the beaches of the South of France. I encourage everyone to engage in some form of writing, whether it’s public or private. There is nothing like looking back to who you once were and seeing how far you have come.