Roaming About

A Life Less Ordinary

My Most Cherished Object; My Daily Companion

As a frugal, down-to-the-basics kind of girl, I don’t own much and I don’t value material goods like most people do. This has been a trend my whole life and allows me to be free. I love downsizing – from not much to even less – to keep things organized and manageable. I enjoy making my life as simple (and cheap) as possible. Decent health, love from (and for) my husband, enough money to put food on the table and live a relatively comfortable life, and the right dose of excitement and adventure is all I need. Of course, I have some clothes as well, even though most of them are 10+ years old. At the moment, we have a car which holds everything we need, and we each have a computer, which is required to make money (and post blogs :-)). My camera is my most important gadget, with my iPad coming in second. Oh, and I do have a Fitbit, but don’t tell anyone! When asked about my most cherished object, however, the answer is the one thing I have held onto and used every single day for over 25 years. It is my most intimate and valuable companion, the only one that knows me through and through, contains all my secrets and has been by my side from the age of 14 forward, for better or for worse, for richer, but mostly for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. I am talking about my diary.

Diary old and new

Diary old and new

Over the years, my diary has changed many forms, from tiny agendas to completely filled notebooks to sturdy appointment diaries with a page for every day. The hardcover yearly agendas suited me best, but I scribbled along the edges and on every blank spot I could find; I struggled with my one-page restriction. At an average time commitment of ten minutes a day over a span of 26.5 years, about 1612 hours (67 days) of my life have been spent writing diaries up to this day. In January of this year, I gave up the pen and paper tradition and I now use the app Day 1 on my iPad. Without the one-page restriction, I find myself writing in my diary for 15-20 minutes a day, plus the revisions. You see, my diary and me, we spend a lot of time together. “Will you ever read them again?” is a question I often receive. My answer: “Sure, when I get bored.” The problem: I never get bored and those boxes of diaries are safely stored at my parents’ house in Belgium. But, I do envision a 75-year old Liesbet in a retirement home, reading through her ramblings and notes, smiling back at the adventures and memories of a lifetime. Meanwhile, the diaries keep my mind active, offer a reflection of each day – one more exciting than the other – and are a great resource for all those memoirs I plan to write!

Once a year in July, Cherished Blogfest organizes a blog hop/event in which participants share something they cherish in a blog post. This is my entry for 2016.

cherished-badge16

What are the things you cherish? Are they with you all the time?

23 Comments

  1. That will be so interesting to look back on your diaries when you’re older and see what young Liesbet got up to 🙂

    • Haha. I kind of wished I had them here to work on my memoir, actually. The more I think about that impossible book project, the more I could use any help that is already available. Did I ever mention I have a bad memory??

  2. I’m not sure that I have a “cherished” object. I have cherished people – and objects that I like (sunglasses, e-reader) but these objects are replaceable. With all your diaries, you must have written a LOT of words!

    • Too many to count, I’m sure. That’s the thing… I write incredible amounts of words, and none of them lead up to anything substantial. All it is doing right now is giving me a writing “burn-out”. Other than the diary (which is more of a concept than one thing), I wouldn’t know what to pick as “cherished”, except for people or pets.

  3. A diary is a great choice. Something that records our deepest thoughts can’t help being a cherished object. Good post.

  4. Liesbet I admire your dedication to your diary tremendously. What a read it will be in the years ahead and as you say such a resource for your memoirs.

    • It should be, Sue, but unfortunately, they are about 3000 miles away from me and quite heavy to ship. Another excuse to stall my memoir. 🙂 You have no idea how many notes, articles, blogs, thoughts and stories I have collected over all these years, and – honestly – I dread going through them all to pick the parts that matter and could move readers. 🙁

  5. Liesbet & Mark, I always wanted to have a daily planner where I could write the stuff and handle my daily assignment and at the end of the day write the daily experiences, but I guess I’m not made for it. I always buy diaries and then they remain empty because I’m just too tired to say or write anything about what happened throughout the day. All I want to do at the end of the day is watch a movie or a documentary, eat dinner and off to bed. However, I loved the way you wrote about the thing you cherish and how important it is to you. Absolutely heart-touching. As a co-host I thank you for sharing your story in the Cherished Blogfest. I also love the fact that you are travellers, because I also travel across various destinations but mostly within India.

  6. I, too, have struggled with whether to keep the old diaries or recycle them and like you, I’ve kept them. It will make for a great life in review!

    • Pam, I am so glad you kept the diaries! I don’t think I could ever (intentionally) get rid of them, after all that effort and time (and memories) that went into them. I hope you will enjoy reading them again in the future… A bright future. 🙂

  7. Sounds like you have something to look forward to 😉 Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you for visiting from South Africa, a country very high on my “would like to visit in the near future” list!

  8. Great post. While I keep an appointment diary for schedules, I’ve been very sporadic in the journalling side it. Might be time I did a bit more.

    • Keeping a journal is quite interesting, but it can get tiring when you do it every day for 20 minutes. I sometimes get sick of it, but will never regret I stuck to doing it. I encourage you to try it some more and see how you fare, Simon.

  9. Well, I’m glad I found you because I am also a big diary and journals and notebooks fan. Plus the fact that it looks like you are from Belgium and I am from France. Nice meeting you and your blog.

    • Hello Evelyne from France. Nice meeting you too! 🙂 I sometimes wonder whether writing diaries is an addiction or whether I actually really do it because I have such a bad memory. Why are you keeping journals?

  10. Hi Liesbet, found you through another blog. I’ve always been a diary/journal writer. Sadly, I didn’t keep my childhood or teenage diaries – something I greatly regret! I suppose I’ve made much more effort to keep all my diaries and journals since I started writing because I do use them for my travel and non-fiction essays.

    Susan at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

    • I have kept all those diaries, but I worry that all the ink will be faded in a few years. I used those little tubes of ink and a pen (which were standard school accessories in Belgium) instead of ballpoint pens. 🙁 Diaries are a great help for travel writing, for sure. Since we travel (and live) light, I unfortunately don’t have them with me at the moment, but I will need them whenever I progress with my memoir.

  11. Interesting to hear that you’re a diarist, Liesbet. 🙂 We’re a dying breed these days. To be fair, these days I only maintain the diary if I’m away or doing something interesting (like meeting Gilly 🙂 ).

  12. I have tried to keep daily diaries now and then, but I soon get tired of keeping them up and eventually just stop. I am a faithful journal-keeper when I travel, though. I always re-discover some experience that I had completely forgotten about when I go back and read them later. Both my parents kept diaries that spanned the time before they met and into their marriage. These diaries are a most cherished position of mine (maybe my subject for next year’s Cherished Blogfest).

    • That is a great topic for the Cherished Blogfest! How amazing that your parents did this way back when. Precious! I do know the feeling of not wanting to keep this journaling stuff up. There are many times when I don’t feel up for it and postpone the writing until the morning. But, in the morning, I have other stuff to do, so then I regret postponing it. Sometimes, I have to catch three days up and don’t remember most of it. 🙂 I think it is most important, helpful and memorable to write in a diary when traveling, sightseeing and doing exciting things, for sure. Good for you that you are rereading some of your journals. I haven’t done that yet… Maybe when I am retired. 🙂

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