This post is part of a series on the various ways I've used pen and paper in my life. To learn more about it, check out the introduction, or view the "ink and paper brain" category for other posts.

This one started at Powell’s. On one of my pilgrimages to the legendary bookstore, I noticed, among their journal offerings, a “five-year journal”. It contained 365 pages, each with five blank spaces stacked atop one another, the idea being that you wrote one small thing every day and could eventually look back on “this day in history” for five years of your life.

"IDEA: One sentence a day."
From my second brain notebook of the time. The quote at the top of the page is also somewhat relevant.

I liked the idea. Specifically, I liked the idea of keeping a more granular record of my life than my personal journals held, though I cared less about stacking five years atop each other. I shied away from buying the dedicated five-year journal, though, because a) I’m a verbose fucker and was thus skeptical of having text boxes of a predefined size, and b) it was, like, twenty bucks, and I could get a blank notebook for so much cheaper.

So I did. Eventually.

About a week before graduating from college, I began my bedtime diary, faithfully recording at least one sentence a day from 2013 to 2015. On occasion, I’d miss a night due to complications, but when that happened, without fail, I’d fill it in the following morning.

When I broke my shoulder in August 2013? It’s in there; a giant “OWWWW” for the day. My depression of early 2014, that’s there too, in weeks after weeks of short entries and dull ink. Whenever I left home and thought there was a remote chance I wouldn’t be sleeping on my own pillow that night, I packed my diary with me.

I filled the last page on January 13 of this year. Unlike previous notebooks, I didn’t immediately replace it with another of its kind, though I’m still practicing daily written reflections. Instead, I rolled my diary, “second brain”, and task lists into one single book: my Bullet Journal.

(As for photos, well, you’ll have to settle for a few shots of the outside. I could not find a two-page spread within that was not in some way deeply personal.)