One look at my Instagram and you’ll quickly notice my love of analog. I love manual typewriters, rotary phones, record players, writing actual letters that require stamps and a mailbox. Call me crazy, but I’ll even take a No. 2 pencil over mechanical any day and don’t even get me started on fountain pens. In the digital age, things like paper planners, journals, and even sketchbooks are becoming nearly obsolete…or are they? Search hashtags like #bulletjournalcommunity, #plannerlove, and #snailmailrevolution and you’ll see just how dedicated my comrades in analog can be. Naturally, it’s easier and faster to journal on a computer, use a digital calendar that syncs across devices, and sketch it up on an iPad Pro,¹ so why do I insist on keeping certain parts of my life analog? You’re in luck…because I’m gonna tell ya.
One of the biggest benefits to keeping certain bits of life analog is…health. We are spending entirely too much time on screens and devices and it is causing all manner of problems. From vision issues, to “texting thumb“, to posture that sets us back several steps on the human evolutionary chart. We surf social media, text our friends, read books (cringe) and catch up on the news on tiny little devices and many of us work all day on computers. Personally, I need a few things that are on good old fashioned paper² to offset all that screen time.
Little known, scientifically proven fact…you retain information better and longer if you physically write it down. No really. It’s true. I think it’s especially true now that we are bombarded by data every minute of every hour. Taking a minute to write a thing down, watching your hand form each letter, has a way of adding longevity to a memory. The older I get, the more my formerly awesome memory fails me and I write more and more things down to combat it. It’s the things I write about that stick with me most easily. And with Alzheimers in the family, I have added worry about forgetting things and take extra lengths to safeguard memories.
I’m of the opinion that one of the greatest unexpected feelings in life is nostalgia.³ That feeling of sentimental longing triggered by a smell, a place, a song. John Cougar Mellencamp’s “Jack and Diane” evokes the craziest level of 80’s big hair longing imaginable and takes me right back to summer shenanigans with my sister and cousins. Every. Single. Time. The sound of a cuckoo clock or grandfather clock immediately brings me back to being at my grandparent’s house and makes me absolutely swoon with nostalgic delight. Pulling an old journal or datebook or photo album off a shelf and flipping through its pages is a hit of pure, grade A nostalgia.
Which would you rather pass to your children or grandchildren? A thumb drive filled with your journal entries and digital photos or a beautiful journal filled with your stories and photos with notes about when and where they were taken? Let me tell you from experience, there is peace (and oodles of aforementioned nostalgia) when flipping through pages penned in the hand of someone we love. Though my grandma has been gone for decades, I was recently gifted her travel journals, written in old wire-bound steno books detailing adventures. Simple, often considered mundane details, right there in her handwriting. I let myself read just a few pages every now and then to make it last as long as possible. They are among my most prized possessions. Enough said.
Over the next several weeks, I’m going to break down various ways I keep it analog and give pointers on making them a habit. It will include traditional journaling, planning, bullet journaling, letter writing, and various sub categories within those topics. Let me know if any of those things might be something you’re interested in. It might help me decide which I write about first.
¹ When it comes to gravitational pull, the iPad Pro has more than the earth itself, therefore, I am being pulled in against my will.
³ Déjà Vu is also awesome. In a creepy and off-putting sort of way.