My Journal

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This is the journal I am using at the moment (and hopefully for the next five years!). It is 112 years old and was made by Asprey in 1901. In it I write with a pencil from the same (Edwardian) era. I am not sure when the pencil was made but it is a commemorative pencil made during King Edward VII’s  reign, which lasted from 1901 to 1910. I use 2h lead which is hard and does not smudge like the softer leads. I have written about this journal here, and the pencil here

It is lockable and was unused until I began using it at the beginning of this year. It is a perfect size – lockable and portable but big enough to write quite a bit.

I have been journalling since 1976. I lost my family when I was a teenager (my grandmother burned to death in a fire, my father had a stroke in the car on the way home from her funeral and three months later my mother died of brain cancer. I had no legal guardian so I became a ward of the state until 1981) and in those days you just put on a brave face and carried on. I didn’t cry or show emotion and so people thought I was fine – in those days people didn’t talk about things, have therapy or work through trauma like they do today. So I channelled all my feelings into my journal. It probably saved my life. It listened, it never judged, it was always there for me as I wrote down my feelings, my pain, my anger, my loneliness. I also had hopes and dreams but no one to tell them to. I felt rootless but my journal grounded me. I travelled around the world for work and pleasure and my journal was my constant companion.

I kept all my old journals from 1976 to about 2008. In 2008 I burned them all. Probably because I didn’t  want anyone else to read all the devastation, anger and pain I had poured onto that paper. But also because I finally felt that that person was behind me and that I could let it all go.

For a while I didn’t journal at all but I missed it so for the past few years I have jotted down things when it strikes me – a beautiful day, a kind gesture or word, sometimes the temperature and weather if it is extreme, things I am thankful for. I am now on my second five-year journal. This one is very special because it was made before the first flight – it has been through two World Wars, the moon landing, 9/11, the digital age. And is now in my loving hands.

On the front page of the diary is written in old fashioned handwriting, a quote from Hamlet. I wonder who it was meant for and who wrote it, so long ago?

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Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

9 thoughts

  1. Hi Janet I stumbled across your post whilst looking for a five year diary for myself. I have written almost everyday for the last twenty five years. It started with just what I ate all day and exercise regime to keep a track. It then quickly developed into what else I did and some thoughts. I find it very interesting and amusing to see what I did on a particular day for more than twenty years. I was looking for a new five year diary as the last one finishes next month. I managed to find one in the same place as last time notonthehighstreet website. Ten years ago I found one in Aspreys but they don’t do it anymore. I absolutely love the ones you have and trying hard to find an interesting one to write for the next five years. I must find it soon though. None of the good stationers like Smythson etc. do it. I suppose there’s not much demand for it. If you have seen any recently please let me know.
    Thanks
    Steve

    1. Hello Steve – Hobonichi do five year diaries that have loads of extra pages, and I have found these ones which look quite interesting — https://www.jespersofharrogate.co.uk/cathian-five-year-diary-locking-a5-p262/ and https://www.bestreviews.guide/five-year-diary-with-locks —- if you would like me to look for some vintage ones for you I can let you know what I find. I know there was a vintage Leathersmith on eBay recently which looked really nice.

  2. Hi again— two questions for you: are you still using this journal? Also, have you ever included your personal journal within your Filofax, whether as a subsection or as the sole contents of a Filofax/other type of ring binder? Thanks!

    1. Yes I am – have been using it since January 2013. I prefer bound journals so have never done it in a Filofax though my weight loss journal many many years ago was a Filofax.

  3. Janet, I am just now stumbling across this post and it took my breath away. Not the journal, although it is exquisite, but your story of journalling and how it might have saved your life. I, too, have journaled through most of my life. As a child it was in cute little diaries, then in bound journals, and eventually, because I wrote so much, in good old composition books. I have shelves and shelves of journals, calendars, and planners that are among my most prized possessions. Journalling, tracking, and planning have been the most powerful medications and soothing balms to my mental and physical health. I know for a fact that I would not be here today if it weren’t for my notebooks. My precious husband recognizes this and never hesitates (often pushes) to buy me whatever notebook, binder, or planner my heart latches on to because it motivates me to keep my hand, heart, and mind moving over a page, moving forward in life. Thank you for sharing your story and for always being an encourager.

    1. And thank you for sharing yours. We sound very similar. If I had not been able to get things out on paper, I doubt I would have survived.

  4. Janet, I am just now stumbling across this post and it took my breath away. Not the journal, although it is exquisite, but your story of journalling and how it might have saved your life. I, too, have journaled through most of my life. As a child it was in cute little diaries, then in bound journals, and eventually, because I wrote so much, in good old composition books. I have shelves and shelves of journals, calendars, and planners that are among my most prized possessions. Journalling, tracking, and planning have been the most powerful medications and soothing balms to my mental and physical health. I know for a fact that I would not be here today if it weren’t for my notebooks. My precious husband recognizes this and never hesitates (often pushes) to buy me whatever notebook, binder, or planner my heart latches on to because it motivates me to keep my hand, heart, and mind moving over a page, moving forward in life. Thank you for sharing your story and for always being an encourager.

  5. This is a very imprrssive journal! But even more i was impressed by the pen! Could you show pictures of it without the “cover” (don’t know how to name it)

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