I’ve always been a firm believer that memories and documenting memories is important. I understand the whole argument for being present in the moment and, for instance, not behind a camera but even being present there’s a lot that my mind doesn’t hold on to. When traveling or site seeing there’s only so much detail you’ll be able to remember a week, month or year later, so we typically take photos. Even everyday life flies by so quickly it’s wonderful to document it so as not to forget where you are in life and what’s happening around you. It’s not difficult to document your life these days when we are always taking photos, video and conversing through text and email, but how much of it is actually keepsakes. And when we do have something we want to keep how do we remember it in a meaningful way?
It’s been a goal of mine for sometime to figure that out; the best ways to document life. Though I love the idea of living minimally I can’t help that I’m a collector of things and I associate sentimental value to even the smallest of item. But if I’m purposeful about what I’m keeping and why I’m keeping it, not only does it serve as a great documentation of my life in that moment but it also gives me another creative outlet in the process. Anything that I flip back through from time to time and remember old memories is perfection in my book.
Some of the easiest and most creative ways to document your life:
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Question of the Day book
I bought this Question of the Day book about 2.5 years ago on a whim while shopping with a girlfriend and it’s been an eyeopening and hilarious way to track my life. Eyeopening in that it has gotten me to look at days and problems I’m facing as super fleeting. Hilarious in that I’m finding that some of my answers hardly change from year to year. I always cover my old answers (right now from the last 2 years) with my hand while I read the question and write my answer for this year. Then I’ll uncover my other answers and usually read them aloud to Mike. It’s a beautiful way to get a glimpse into your life everyday and each book spans 5 years.
It hurts a little bit to think that photo albums are kind of a thing of the past. I love looking through old photo albums at my parents house and seeing all the big and small moments that it holds. The candid shots from birthdays, the vacations where we all look overly tired, and just the photos of us kids playing in the yard with the dog. It’s all things that I don’t necessarily remember but so wish I did. I’d like to think that in this digital world a few of us still print out photos to keep, at the bare minimum in picture frames around the house.
Box of Keepsakes
This may seem a little odd to some, but it’s one of my favorites things that I own and it’s also one of the simplest ways to document your life. I have a little box, shoe box actually, of keepsakes that really matter to me but that I don’t necessarily want on display around the house. Most of it is from mine and Mike’s early relationship, like a postcard from the restaurant that we had our first date, and a dried rose from the first bouquet he ever bought me, but I also have kept playbills from ballets and shows we’ve seen and pamphlets from specific tours we’ve been on while traveling. At some point I need to move it to something more substantial than a shoe box but for the time being it’s serving it’s purpose as a perfect reminder of all my favorite memories.
I’m really happy that journaling is making a comeback in popular culture because I’ve always found it to be meditative and calming. A journal can literally be whatever you want or need it to be. I kept a sketchbook all through school and while it’s not necessarily about my life it still serves as a great documentation from my time in college. Bullet journaling is a great way to track your life if you love to make lists and, more importantly, check things off of those lists. Art journaling is very popular as well and tends to be more expression based than written content a lot of times. I tend to do kind of a combo of art journaling and bullet journaling where I like to make collages and use calligraphy on pretty much every page, but each page is tracking or documenting something I want to remember. Here’s some great journaling inspiration to help you get started.
Scrapbooking is no longer for your sweet old grandma. With the amount of crazy gorgeous paper and stamp companies that are all over the internet you can create a super modern and unique scrapbook that perfectly documents your life. Even your local Micheal’s or hobby shop probably has aisles of fun scrapbooking materials. I think adding personal items to a scrapbook is what really helps it serve as a beautiful reminder; things like birthday cards, Polaroid photos of friends, and ticket stubs.
If you are anything like me you save everything, especially things like ticket stubs to movies, concerts, traveling, and events. I was so excited to find these ticket books awhile back and I bought the travel and the regular ticket one for Mike to keep concert tickets in. If you see a lot of shows and want to remember all the bands you saw, or travel a lot and want a reminder things like the flights you took, I honestly can’t think of a better way to keep them all in one place. Each book holds quite a bit so chances are you’ll be able to fit a few years worth of ticket stubs in each.
Video Logs (Vlogs)
This is probably the most time intensive of all the things listed, mainly because video editing can be a long process if it’s not something you do often. But now that go pros and small cameras have such great quality in such a small and relatively inexpensive package, it’s become easier than ever to film your life and adventures. I’m not saying you have to create a YouTube channel or anything, because home movies are just as fun to make. If your parents could film everything with those bulky 1990’s video recorders there’s really no reason you can’t document your life with video now. And no, snapchat videos do not count.
In other words, the digital journal. Maybe you want to document life as a mother, your fashion sense, your adventures as your travel, or just life in general, blogging is one of the easiest ways to get your thoughts out there to the masses. (Of course you can always blog privately if you’d rather just document your life for your own personal reflection.) I love seeing how many people are finally exploring the world of blogging and the community of inspiring and talented individuals that populate it. However, it’s become a larger discussion on whether it’s okay to document your kids on such platforms since they can’t really give consent as babies, but personally if I could go back and read a blog by my own mother as a young mom that would be the most beautiful and priceless gift. And one of the best things about blogging is there is no limit on how long or what you can document. It will be interesting to see if this generation will still be blogging, in whatever form that takes on, in the next 50 years.
Life is moving fast. I think it’s important to document what you can and cherish it all.
What ways do you like to document your life?