I was talking to my dad on Friday (I call him every day to check in) and he prompted me to start keeping a journal about what’s happening right now. I don’t plan to have children myself, but I do have a young niece and nephew (ages 7 and 2 respectively). Some day they’re going to want to talk about this period in history and he suggested it would be good to have a contemporary source to refer back to, rather than just vague recollections.
So, I’ve started a journal. I’m not great at it, though I’ve tried over a number of occasions. I feel narcissistic focusing too much on my own thoughts and feelings and too clinical just noting down the events of the day. But I’m trying to improve and so I thought I would share some tidbits I’ve found helpful, in case you want to join me in creating a Quarantine Journal.
- Start with the Date
I know this may seem obvious, but I wanted to make sure to mention it. In twenty, thirty, or forty years, we may not remember exactly how things played out. Time gets distorted as the years pass and things that once seemed forever apart will suddenly be remembered as happening concurrently.
- Delve into your own thoughts and emotions.
Even if you end up editing them out when you’re reading this to your children or grandchildren later on, adding in what headspace you’re in right now will help place you back in this time. It’s also a good way to work through the fear or anxiety you may be feeling right now.
- Include major events.
Yes, make note of the day your governor issued a shelter in place order or the date the first case in your county was confirmed. Sure, these will be recorded in the official history as well, but it’ll place your narrative firmly in time and contextualize your experience.
- But don’t forget non-quarantine related events as well.
Did your neighborhood have a group singalong on your balconies? Write it down. Did your favorite author do a livestream reading their book? Add it in. Was a movie you were waiting for get released for digital download? Note it. Make this a snapshot of what your life is like right now. Sure, in fifty years, Onward may not be a movie anyone remembers, but if it is important to you now, it’s worth talking about.
- No pressure.
Remember, you’re doing this mostly for yourself. So, if you miss a day? No biggie. Write a page and a half one day and a quarter of a page the next? That’s fine. At the end of the day, there are no rights and wrongs to this.
Anything I missed? Add your own tips in the comments!
Good luck and stay safe out there!