08 January 2010

The value of keeping a diary

I never realised the value of keeping a diary/journal until this last Christmas when my son Philip was home.

I pulled out my old Filofax diary from 1986 and 1987, he made some joky remark at first. But then I turned to January 1987 and showed him what was happening in the days before and after his birth (20 Jan 1987...23 years ago) and he went very quiet and was absorbed by what I had written...

20 January 1987 as well as being the day Philip was born... 00:05 to be precise, was also the day that Terry Waite was being reported as being taken hostage in Beirut. Terry Waite was a special envoy to the Archbishop of Canterbury who was in Beirut trying to negotiate with the hostage takers to free other hostages when he was also taken hostage. He remained in captivity for 1763 days, he was released in November 1991.

When ever the story was reported in the newspapers giving the number of days he had been held also equated to the age of Philip.

Like now, this area of Kent was blanketed in snow back in January 1987... all of this was recorded in my diary from back then....

So do try to make the effort to record what is happening in the world, in your life, no matter how insignificant it might seem at the time. When you or your relatives look back on it in future years I'm sure it will keep them spell bound for a few hours.

A paper diary I'm sure will outlive the modern equivalents... Twitter, Facebook... and will be more private as well of course. Not that I'm suggesting you give up either of these, they have their place.

I'm just regretting not keeping a diary after I went over to electronic diaries in the 1990's to only rediscover Filofax back in 2005. I'm just so pleased I captured Philips first years, the memories come flooding back even with the briefest of entries.



  1. I keep a diary of sorts. Most of the time my jottings are undated and for me it is simply a way to get things off my chest. It will never be published, but it is a way for me to get things 'out into the open' without regretting them later. Facebook, Twitter etc cannot offer that kind of privacy, and while I enjoy them both, especially Twitter, I do like the privacy of my filofax.

  2. For a diary, I prefer a bound book as with Moleskine. How do you store your past Filo diaries and what pages do you use?
    I was just reading about Peter Beard's diaries--he saved a lot of "stuff" as well as words.

  3. Hi Ally
    I store my old diary pages, but popping a tag through the holes and then storing the complete diary in a storage box I found in Ikea a few years ago.

  4. I too am keen on keeping a diary/journal. I have been doing so ever since I was 14, (20 years ago for those who were wondering...)
    Around 2000 I stopped, mostly due to a very noisy and jealous guy I was dating back then, so around 2003 I chose the alternative of having a 'livejournal'. I think it was around 2006 when I started keeping a paper journal once again and haven't used livejournal ever since!
    And one of the tasks on my To Do list is printing all I had written in LJ, so I can bind it and finally have a paper version of it.

  5. As posted on my blog today: "I've written a lot about my lifelong relationship with Dayrunners and Filofaxes. A friend sent me a link to this fantastic Filofax blog, Philofaxy, which is worth a look. I especially liked the entry for January 8 of this year, 'The value of keeping a diary'. Philofaxy, I appreciate the blog!"

  6. I stumbled upon this post today, and I'm so glad I did. I realize I'm four years late in commenting, but this post still works as inspiration/motivation to use my filofax not only as a planner but as a diary of sorts, to capture what I can, when I can. As the mother of two, one who is not even a year old, I find time passing so quickly; it's not too late to start recording snippets of moments that will help bring it all back. Thanks for this.