About 8 months ago, I was reading a book by my ancestor John S. Stucki. He lived in Switzerland and was one of my first ancestors to come to America. The book was his history and was a large part in why I wanted to visit Switzerland so much.
When I got done reading the book, I wondered what stories of me would be remembered in five generations from now. After thinking about it, I realized that I was starting to forget things that happened just five years ago so how would they know about me? So I made a plan.
Since that time I have kept two journals each day. One is a journal that recaps the day’s events. It has been good timing to start one now as I have had some major things happen in the last year. Writing in a journal is a very good practice to keep. It is more than a chronology of your day. As you write, you realize how you can plan your day better and you give yourself a good gauge at how you are doing in your life with your standards and your goals. I felt this as I wrote on my mission, and feel the same way now as I have restarted the habit.
The other journal was a new idea for me, and I have enjoyed it just as much. I call it my Memory Journal. I realized that I have already forgotten quite a bit from the first 25 years of my life. If those memories are fading already, I can’t imagine what it will be like in 25 more years. That thought scared me.
My memory journal consists of memories that I have never written down but would like to remember. Each day, I think of something to write. Some of my posts have been my first plane ride, the first time that I got in big trouble, the names of my elementary teachers and something they taught me, etc. You’d be surprised at how much comes rolling back when you think about it.
I don’t write really long entries, but I put enough detail in there so that I will remember it when I’m fifty. And I write as if someone is reading it for the first time. It should be clear enough to give them the story, but not too long to bore them.
To write these journals, I use a program called MacJournal. It is free and makes it very simple to keep a daily digest. If you don’t have a Mac, you can use a plain word document.
I keep a good backup of my computers, but also I print the full document out every two weeks so I am sure to not lose any of it.
One final tip would be to find a way to remind yourself each day. Personally, I don’t like to have too many emails in my inbox so I have an email sent to me each day and my rule is that I can’t erase it until I have written the entries. To do this, I use a cron job, but you can use iCal or a free online service like Memotome.com. They’ll send you an email every day at the same time.
If emailing isn’t a daily thing for you, you can try an old fashion way like a rock on your pillow that can’t be moved until you write in it. Or keep your iPod and iTunes collection off limits until you get the writing done.
I hope that your great-great-great grandkids will know that you existed.