By Omolola Itayemi
Years back, keeping a diary was more than a habit; it was more or less a lifestyle shared by both young and old. Non-sexist, it transcends religion, race and other demographics that usually define us. No matter what colour (yes, the black book), shape or size ‘dear diary’ is, it’s the key to our secrets, thoughts and worries. A diary is a private journal where personal thoughts, secrets and accomplishments are recorded.
But as the years progressed and technology advanced, the art of diary-keeping regressed to an almost non-existent state, taking away the intimacy and bond ‘dear diary’ provided.
Although diary keeping ranks high with females, men are not slackers either. Adept at keepinag diaries especially when it concerns their sexual escapades, leaks, however minute from such private journals can be very embarrassing. But even for those who don’t have skeletons in their cupboards, having the whole world peer into one’s private thoughts can be very discomforting. Interestingly, this is one of the intriguing reasons of diary-keeping, it’s a safe haven for dark thoughts.
One of such is Hollywood’s great affair between Richard Burton (the late big screen actor) and Elizabeth Taylor (award winning actress) laid bare in Burton’s secret diary. If there are any missing links in their popular love affair over the years, this secret diary serves to unravel it.
So could reasons like the one written above be the cause of ‘dear diary’s’ waning popularity? Ironically, this should serve as a wake-up despite what different technological gizmos promise.
Growing up as a little girl or boy, ‘dear diary’ knew all our personal secrets from the most bizarre to the most prudish thought. From inspirations to disappointments, ‘dear diary’ kept them all. More than a refuge for our thoughts, it’s a confidante that won’t spill your secrets except it gets into the wrong hands.
This over the years, proved to be the most confident of all bonds. Whatever he/she was going through in life, it would be lavishly written in detailed form in a book with a beginning, ‘Dear Diary…’ like it was being addressed to an actual person, personifying the book in which thoughts are poured out and kept safe from prying eyes, sometimes with miniature locks or combined locks.
Writing is like a free version of therapy. Sometimes you need to let it out and how better to do it except in the comfort of your own journal where you are allowed to vent as you wish. No one judges your input or whatever you say in your personal diary because no one gets to read it.
Also the art of keeping a diary puts one’s life in perspective. It helps envisage a wider picture of things rather than just an event. In the long run, diaries come in handy. Medically, one who suffers from amnesia or Alzheimer’s, could usefully revert back to old journals to jumpstart their memorial inabilities.
This fashion progressed over the years; some even went ahead to be turned into true life movies. But in recent years, its popularity diminished. This set of generation, though aware of its existence, does not, in fact, fancy keeping a diary. Even if they did, the percentage is but a handful.
There are a lot of reasons as to why in this present age and time, girls would rather not make this age long tool their present day companion. After a thorough research, I found out that most girls find this cumbersome. I asked some of my friends if they owned diaries and they shook their heads hysterically. When I asked why, they said the stress of keeping one. They found the idea valuable but just had too much to say to scribble down onto blank sheets. Indeed, the time and patience isn’t exactly associated with this generation. This comes as part of the reason why diaries might be going extinct.
Also, the inception of technology is another reason the diary is phasing out or in, as the case may be. Some find the internet a vital tool for diary-keeping. With the emergence of computers, writing diaries became a lot less tedious. As against scribbling in journals, using a Microsoft document and hiding it in a secret folder, came as an upgrade to the game, changing the art but not the spirit. The internet complicates things a little lot less with Blogs. Blogs have become online journals with a further ability to spice up your updates with even pictures for a more attractive read. To these lots, the art of diary keeping might not exactly be phasing out; evolving might be a better way to describe it.
But this indeed also turned out to be a disadvantage to some as well. The idea of deviating from the traditional mode of keeping diaries doesn’t go well with a lot. Worse still knowing that chances that it would be read through system hacking or laid out plainly for all to see on the internet, isn’t exactly such a pleasing idea. And if sticking to the known method would be considered old-fashioned, they stay away from it all together.
Another factor is the fear of exposure. Over the years, the rate at which hidden diaries are found by a second party and exposed to the public increased; whether it was a celebrity or a commoner. Others simply lost one or two diaries either to fire, rain or moving, and haven’t had the least interest at resuscitating the thirst.
Despite its complexities and intricacies, as stated earlier, keeping a diary can be therapeutic and also the panacea for overcoming shyness or timidity in both old and young.
Five top reasons to keep a diary
– It can make you more organised
– It can make you more disciplined
– It’s a stress reliever
– It’s a way to keep memories alive
– It will make you a good writer
Four things keeping us away from diary keeping
- Mobile phones – tweeting, pinging and texting have taken over from diary keeping as people would rather text, tweet or ping about their experiences, thoughts and feelings than write it in a diary
- Celebrities – celebrity mania is at its peak with celebrities dictating trends and fans follow. Since most of them are not in the habit of keeping diaries, -(If they do, they are certainly tight-lipped about it), the trend is slowly dying.
- Invasion of privacy – fear of falling into the hands of someone you would rather not share those deep, precise personal feelings with and they drag you into court and use it as evidence against you (though extreme)
- Modern gadgets – Ipads, Iphones and other modern gadgets offer electroni diaries where most people especially those on the go will store information for future use