Delving into the Intangibles

   My Diary  

The word nikki translates as “diary”, a word derived from the Latin diarium meaning “daily allowance”. The French equivalent is journal. You can find the stem, jour (day), in a word such as bonjour, literally “good day” in English. If you look up the word journal in a French–English dictionary, you will find various meanings: newspaper, periodical publication, diary, or logbook. So a person keeping a diary might be called a “journalist”, as she or he is recording day-to-day happenings of her or his own life.

Ways of keeping a diary vary from person to person. Some like to write in a three- or five-year planner, others choosing a volume of their liking and keep on writing, following their heart. I have been keeping a diary for 30 years in volumes of my or my husband’s choice, or ones that I bought on trips abroad.

I am looking at them now. My, my, was it really me who wrote all this? Honestly, I can hardly hide my surprise at the pile of diaries stacked in front of me. Reading over them again, in chronological order, I realize that diaries have surprising powers I never before imagined. Professional writers aside, ordinary people write solely for their own pursuit of “the truth, and nothing but the truth”; very few would bother to write lies. They are a record, a personal history. That's why they deserve credit.

Diaries, I always think, have two functions. One is that of a memorandum, a reminder, keeping a record of what happened on a particular day: for example, concerning your health, the weather, annual events, festivals, and so forth. In my case, as an aficionado of classical music, there are entries about concerts and, as the widow of a beloved husband, notes on nursing care, the detailed records of which have turned out to be useful for others in the same difficult situation.

The other function of diaries is to make a record of one’s inner response to the happy and joyful, agonizing and painful episodes of life. Most importantly, your diary preserves descriptions of how you tasted and dealt with these ups and downs. A strong Intangible Power can be generated when you leave a record of your introspection. When you come to read them again, diaries will give you confidence, encouragement, courage, and sometimes solace. Back then, faced with a problem, I stood firm, racked my brains for a good idea, and finally made it through––so I can do the same again. This is the most important benefit of a diary for me: it can lead to an unexpected self-discovery. You begin to see yourself.

I ask myself: Have I undergone a gradual change in the course of my life? I might have changed a little bit, influenced by acquired elements such as social events, time, and age, but basically, I think, I am the same person. A diary is an exclusive memo about yourself, and when you reach a certain age, you will feel it to be an irreplaceable, bosom friend.

Diaries can be used as a reference book to confirm the past, both from Tangible and Intangible viewpoints. It is precisely because you wrote every sort of thing down.

Please find a diary volume that suits your taste at a stationery shop. The New Year is just around the corner. Treat what and how you write in a diary as your “daily allowance” from Heaven. Why not try?

It wouldn’t hurt to write just a few lines, surely?