Get Clarity With a Low-Effort Summary of Your Wonderfully Ordinary Life
This simple analog or digital habit reveals your unique patterns and perspective
If it isn’t written, it will be forgotten.
Some things are so poignant they’ll be etched in your heart forever, but those are the exceptions.
It’s in the smaller, repeated bits and pieces of your life that patterns are revealed. Patterns that help you see your past with clarity, and can give direction to your future.
Writing a few lines about my lived experience almost every day has given me perspective I don’t think I’d have gained any other way. It’s super cool to look back on, and I think you will benefit from doing it too.
In this article, I’m going to tell you about my analog and digital adventures with summarising my life, including how to keep a plain text 5-year diary that almost writes itself.
Patterns and lessons from 5 years of walking the talk
I’m on year 5 of my first 5-year diary. You can tell I’m a convert because the next diary is purchased and ready to go, and because I consider it worth the time to write about.
Looking back over the pages of my diary, here are some things I notice.
That accountant I was annoyed with? The same time the following year, she had passed away. Life comes, life goes. Be nice.
It seems I’m remarkably, repeatedly grateful for clean sheets to sleep in. Ordinary things can be a delight when they’re given the right amount of care and attention.
My family aren’t perfect, but they are preciously wonderful even when things aren’t going well. There’s no one more important than family and friends.
I have a little more weight to trim down now, in year 5, than I believed I did in year 1, but I’m less stressed about it today than I was then. Looking back helps me see choices and consequences unencumbered by feelings of shame. It’s okay that some things are hard to conquer.
That thing I was so excited about buying? Two years later I gave it away. Stuff doesn’t solve deeper problems. Life isn’t about the things we accumulate.
Regrets: things I wish I’d written more about
There’s value in life’s mundane details, even in reading what I made for family dinner three years ago, but I really wish I’d written more about my reactions, feelings, struggles—about the things I found hard, and what I did to overcome them.
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