Your grandparents are arguing over how they first met, and you are sitting there laughing, thinking this would never happen to you. Hey, maybe it won’t, but chances are you’ll forget many of the little things you’ve experienced in life. Those precious moments will fade in our memory, and it’s inevitable. Try to think back on the last eight years of your life, what do you remember? The big events, milestones, holidays. But what about the details? The time spent with friends and family, the ups-and-downs you’ve gone through—wouldn’t you like to look back on that in a few years?
Looking back on memories can invoke the warm, fuzzy feeling of nostalgia. Mentally travelling back in time to a period in your life can be extremely gratifying, and even allow you to temporarily escape the stressors of modern life. It produces a positive mood, increases self-esteem, and can help combat loneliness, according to Dr. Clay Routledge. So, shouldn’t we start documenting our lives today so we can experience these benefits in the future?
Not only can documenting your life create nostalgic feelings, but it can motivate you to lead a fuller, more satisfying life. Whether you’re writing down your day-to-day in a log, or simply taking more pictures and videos of your daily activities, you’ll start to notice your routines and bad habits. Don’t worry—we all have them. Recognizing these things can help you work towards eliminating them, and replacing them with more worthwhile habits, like meditation or healthy eating. Maybe it’ll even motivate you to seek new and exciting opportunities and make choices oriented towards growth and self-development. Perhaps recording your life will inspire you to take on that passion project you’ve been thinking about, or to plan your next trip across the world. Whatever it is, documenting your life will show you exactly what you are and aren’t achieving in your day-to-day and set you towards achieving the goals that are most important to you.
So, how can you get started? There are many different options for documenting your life, and choosing the right option depends on which one you think you can integrate into your routine and stick to. You could:
- Write in a journal (write one line a day or an entire page)
- Take one picture a day
- Keep a memory jar (write down your favourite memory each day and compile them in a mason jar)
- Or take a one-second video each day
This last one is a really clever idea and by far my personal favourite. I saw Cesar Kuriyama talk about it in a Ted Talk. He took a year off work and recorded one second every day and found great joy in it. When he’s 80, he can look back on it and have 5 hours of footage of every day of his life since he started.
There are only benefits to documenting your life, and you may find a deeper, more meaningful outlook as a result. As you get older, you’ll thank yourself, and maybe even write a book sharing your story.
Photo courtesy of Zachary DeBottis