How I Am Writing a Story of My Life; Journaling for Nostalgia
What if you cannot remember the small tiny details of your life that make you wonder about the world, that make you smile, the way a stranger smiled at you when you were about to give up on the goodness of the world? What if you cannot differentiate between what is reality, and what’s just a piece of your imagination?
What if you are 60 years old sitting alone in your room and want to remember the details from your early 30s? Wouldn’t it be tragic to face difficulty in remembering the small details that only you could notice?
A few days back, I shared a reel on Instagram to which a person commented this:
And I think this comment holds true in all stages of our lives. When you are 20, you cannot remember the details of your childhood. And when you are 60, you cannot remember the details of your 30s. You can remember the surface-level information, sure but what about the exact small details that make your life YOURS? Details that set your soul on fire?
And that’s where my favorite method of journaling comes as a rescue. A method that records your life as a movie for you to watch anytime you want. A method that makes you feel excited about life. It is the method that will force you to find joy and sweetness in everything, however small.
The method is what I call; Journaling for Nostalgia
I am a writer, hence writing is always fascinating to me. But what I believe is that the differences in our perception are what make our experiences unique to ourselves. We look at the same moon but it makes us all feel differently. We read the same books but interpret them differently. And this difference is what makes you, YOU, unique and different from me and the world. Though if you have never written about those differences, you will never get to know yourself or your thought process.
For example; A few months back, I was on a walk with my father. He was telling me about his old days and we were just so happy when I suddenly noticed a lady who turned my belief system on humanity for a second. This is what I wrote in my journal that day:
“I was walking with my father when I saw a lady on the other side of the road who was surrounded by some men. Those men were restricting her from going ahead. Some people were saying it was because she was begging. And I wonder if that’s a crime. I wonder how some women in this world are so loved and respected whereas some don’t even know what it feels like to be respected. I think it’s all about power and that poor lady has lost the power of her own brain. I wonder if she has ever been asked how she feels, what she wants, and things like that’
You see, Journaling for nostalgia is this. You write about the things that make you smile, sad, disappointed, or excited. You basically just sit down to capture how differently you felt on a certain day. It could be about the smell of your plants that reminded you of the softness of mother nature. Or how you read something online.
The point is you journal so you can record the details of your life, details that don’t matter to anyone but you, details that you would want to read about a year later or 30 years later, details that create a different world for you.
Now, how can you journal for nostalgia? How can you record the details of your life in a way that makes you feel excited irrespective of the incident you are writing about?
1. Write Your Auto-Biography:
I have read tons of biographies and I always wondered ‘what would my auto-biography be like’ but my mind always jumped to say ‘well, you don’t have anything specifically great to even think of writing your own autobiography’
But now I think differently. I believe we all have something special to share not with the world but with ourselves. It’s about acknowledging what happens in our day-to-day life rather than just passing by our lives as a viewer. You need to participate in your life. And for that, the best way is to write what you see, do, think and feel in your day-to-day life.
You will be astonished to read the old entries in your journal. Astonished to read how one day you were happy and the other day depressed but anyway, you made it. This daily entry would be more like keeping a record of your day without predicting what the future holds. Just you and your present day.
Now, when you journal for nostalgia, remember that it is your autobiography. And since it's your life’s story, it shouldn’t be like everyone else. These days, we are just so afraid of standing out that we copy-paste each other’s manners, morning routines, and diet plans. In fact, we never even sat down to think about our definition of success and happiness.
And that’s exactly what you need to avoid while journaling. Your journal should be free from all the manners and etiquette.
2. Keep It Imperfect & Flawful:
I am not a nice person if you judge me on the parameters of the definition of ‘what a nice person should be’ as per the world.
I am a mix of bad and good. Sometimes, I do the things that I ask you not to like yelling at my loved ones (and regretting it the very next second). But I also sacrifice a lot of things silently for the people I love. Sacrifices that only I know. It’s like a secret list of things that I do but never show.
But what if I want to remember them? What if someday I am doubting my goodness and I want to remember that I am not all bad? Or what if I am having a really bad day and I want to remember just one of those good days when I felt heaven on earth?
What if I want to remember something I wrote about my friend or something I felt about the world, good or bad, anything?
Well, that’s when Journaling for nostalgia comes. You need to write in your journal the things you faced, did, and felt in their absolute true nature. Even if you did something bad. Even if you hurt someone. It’s about acknowledging the darkest and brightest side of your personality without any judgements. Hence, while you journal, note that your journal should have:
- No filter
- No Perfection
- No shame
- No conclusion
No matter what you thought or how you felt, good or bad, you need to write everything in its truest nature as that’s how your true self comes back in life.
Your journal should capture your essence.
- It’s your safe place
- It’s a piece of your mind and heart.
Think no one is going to read it except your 60-year-old version who wants to keep your adulthood alive among these pages. Think of it as a mobile gallery that you can visit anytime you want to know what happened on your last birthday or how you felt 2 months ago.
3. Recording Small & Big Win; Record Big & Small Failure:
I started this year with just one motive - making $1000/month. And the initial few months were terrible when I had no big client for my writing business nor had anyone reading my Medium articles.
I wrote in my journal at that time that things are not working as per my plans and I don’t see if anything is going to work in my favor or not. And a lot more things about all the reasons why I was feeling like a failure.
A few months later, my Medium account started receiving love from my lovely readers and I got the biggest high-paying client so I wrote the same thing in my journal.
Then my client left me and Medium doesn’t pay me so I wrote the same in my journal. And now when we are on the verge of 2022, I have surpassed my target of making $1000 and I no longer depend on Medium’s algorithm. I have found a higher purpose. The purpose of writing my own book.
All of this is recorded in my journal with dates and months so I can remember that life is a roller coaster ride. Some months I was happy whereas some months I wanted to give up. In any case, I still stand tall with lessons that I will hold dear to my heart.
What this teaches you is that record your small & big wins as well as small & big failures. Write why things didn’t work out and how you feel (something that you want to say to yourself). Write how things worked way better than you imagined and how it empowers you more.
It’s about becoming vulnerable and accepting that not all days are going to be the same. Some days you will cry, some days you will dance. But not being able to remember any of it would be a tragedy so, WRITE YOUR JOURNAL.
You don’t have to be all classy and perfect. You don’t have to force yourself to write about the things that seem big or glorifying. You can write about things as little as 2 lines about a flower or a squirrel that was playing somewhere in your garden or it could be about heartbreak or a career failure. The point is to record those moments and write about the things that make you feel and think differently. Things that make your life YOUR VERY OWN.
And just one tip, don’t wait to journal before bed. As soon as you come across something that makes you feel a little more alive, write it down before your feelings turn into a decorative thought. That is how you get to know yourself better. That is how you become unfiltered. I hope you do a journal for nostalgia. Journal to see what every day holds for you. Journal to keep yourself alive in the pages.