During my trip home to the family nest over the Christmas period, I began the long, difficult process of sorting out my childhood room. Given that I am prone to hoarding everything except for my clothes, this was an arduous task and one that took me three full days of haphazard sorting using a complex system of bin bags…
One find that did pique my interest, however, was a box of my old diaries. Not only did this illustrate to me very literally how much both my handwriting and my relationship with my sister have improved over the years, but it also made me consider how my approach to a new year has changed as I have got older.
Mainly this analysis focused on my attitude to summarising the previous year, and making promises for the new one. Those nasty little promises that we feel forced to profess with the impending passage of time. I have developed a distaste for resolutions in my more advanced years, considering them as a sort of an inevitable fail at the very start of a new year, which really is not the #goodvibes you want for your January.
However, it would seem that the earnest, impressionable me of many, many years ago really bloody loved a promise. Two resolutions I thought were worth mentioning:
1: “I have a plan to improve my marks in school. I won’t talk at all, not unless I have to. It might sound extreme but it will work.”
2: “I will try harder to get on with my sister”
I can tell you now that number one categorically failed, and number two probably gained some traction after writing that as a resolution for – according to my diaries – about four years.
Another particular favourite element of my old diaries was how I approached summarising the year that had passed. Interestingly enough, I still tend to remember key life events by what I was wearing at that time. My 2007 diary began with a celebration of my main success for 2006:
“I bought my first pair of skinny jeans.”
This was followed by an explanation of how this was important because it was also the year that I developed a love for “emo music”. Clearly, a seminal moment in my adolescence. I mean, the fact that I documented the exact moment when I purchased those all-important and style-defining jeans is something I am very glad of now, because my relationship with skinny jeans really has been an enduring one, despite some missteps.
Appraising my year based on the aesthetic that I stuck to during that period might seem trivial, but clearly it illustrates how important each different phase I went through has been to me today.
Currently, I’m working on my review of 2016 based on the outfits I remember the most. Whilst this has been a bloody weird year (putting it mildly), I think that there is something to be said for keeping it simple and remembering the times when I felt my best.
The fact that I still write a year in review based on the most important outfits from the previous 12 months illustrates that, although my diaries are boxed up and have now found a much more public, digital forum, I will always have a penchant for documenting my experiences based on the most important purchases I make.