While I am eternally grateful for the gift that is the rapid advancement of technology in the 21st century, there are certain things that I’d still prefer over its digital form. I have a Polaroid camera that I hold dear, and I’ve tried making the transition to eBooks, yet I still can’t help but haul giant tomes home from secondhand bookstores. My friends have told me that I’m a bit of an old soul; one described me as “analog” as opposed to being more digitally inclined. And perhaps they’re right. I like writing down my content for posts in intelligible scribbles in my notebook, and I relish the feeling of physically ticking off my tasks for the day in my trusty bullet journal.
For all the good that diary apps have, I’m still a pen and paper kind of girl, and here are some reasons why.
1. I remember what I write
I’ve gotten so used to typing on my phone and laptop for everything; from setting test papers for my students to, well, making posts like this, that the words sort of jumble together once I exit a website or an application, and I’m hard pressed trying to remember what I tweeted two hours ago.
Writing something down in a journal allows me to really think about what I want to put on paper, and that in turn helps me to keep the words in mind as well, since there’s no backspace bar in my notebook.
2. It gives me a private and safe space
With how much oversharing is such a trend nowadays, having something that’s wholly and completely yours is a breath of fresh air, and that’s what a journal can be for you.
It harks back to the days where keeping a bright purple diary under my pillow seemed like the brightest idea ever, but now that I’m older and have my own personal space, it’s a lot easier to keep out snoops. It’s where I write about my fears and aspirations, and that leads me to the next reason.
3. It allows me to chronicle my memories and dreams
Sure, I can easily do this on any old application. But again, there’s just something rather romantic about the idea of staying up late at night and chronicling the day’s events, or an early morning session of subconscious writing, when my mind hasn’t gotten a chance to filter and control itself.
Having a physical reminder of one’s thoughts can help you to keep track of your own progress, whether it’s trying to start up a savings account for retirement, or even how much you can change from two months ago when you first started working out.
4. It helps me block out the outside world
My personality type is quite high on the introversion scale, which means it takes me two hours max before I get tired of any form of active socialisation with anyone.
Writing down my thoughts in my journal allows me to tune out the constant noise and distraction of the world’s demands for a brief respite. And sometimes, that’s all I need in order to realign my goals and priorities before throwing myself back into work.
5. I know myself a little better
I’ve kept a number of diaries over the years, and they never fail to make me cringe at how much angst my preteen self could hold. But more importantly, they remind me that I wasn’t the same person from a decade ago, and it’s an incredibly comforting thought. Reading my own journals from yesteryears is as therapeutic as using them as a brain dump for my jumbled thoughts, and they allow me to see the progress I’ve made as a person.
Through the hastily written down notes and the random flashes of bad poetry, the words I’ve put down on paper were the representation of my state of mind at one point, and it helps to know that I’m no longer as easily swayed or frustrated by the things that are beyond my control. Or so I’d like to think, at least.