A sloppy and sentimental piece about the secrets and details of my life and a simple app on my phone.
I love writing and on many occasions have started journals. Some I stick with for months, but all I eventually abandon.
The half full pages tell stories, keep my darkest secrets, have poems and artwork. Yet they are always incomplete.
Their partial tales give the skeleton of my life, rough details of my existence, so that the reader has just a sense of who I am and what I’ve been through.
Yet there is one journal that despite the years, I faithfully write down everything: the notes app on my phone.
I started taking notes when I was about 15 and discovered how efficient it was so I didn’t have to carry a notebook at all times.
The notes originally started as homework for school, or important messages to pass along.
Then my first stroke of creative genius: recording the outrageous quotes of my family.
For anyone who hasn’t met my family, you’ve probably dodged a bullet. I adore them, but there’s a lot of personality and chaos crammed into one small family unit.
My childhood home was filled with over the top stories, attempted jokes and the more one liners than anyone would be comfortable with.
For years I diligently took note of these quotes, first from just my immediate family, then my extended family and soon enough my friends.
My seventeen year old self was convinced that I would one day publish a book with these snippets of conversation, as recorded without context and immortalised through the notes app.
When I moved out of home, the notes app became a practical place to write meal plans, grocery lists and passwords and important details. They were no longer filled with lively quotes, as my life became more dull.
Then I found myself sitting in a cafe in some foreign country with no notebook on hand, desperately needing to get my thoughts out of my head. So I started frantically typing.
From then on, the emotional essays typed into notes become more common.
Shopping lists, to do lists and the occasional idea to research dotted between emotional essay after essay.
The notes app once again recorded the details of my life, this time without the joy.
The auto sync feature means these tales travel with me everywhere I go and I have years worth of thoughts available at the touch of my fingertips. No matter the device, the note will always eventually make its way to the folder on my phone.
One night this week at 3 in the morning, once more thee victim of insomnia, I decided to go through my notes.
There were over five hundred from a period on seven years.
As I read I was overjoyed by the ideas and memories that I had the foresight to preserve.
Some were happy and light hearted, many were deeply emotional and some shone a light on the simple joys.
Library reference numbers, recorded in the notes made me want to explore the library and find the names of the books my past self was eager to read.
The packing lists have made me reminisce on all the trips and moves that have shaped my existence.
Nowadays I use notes for everything, they contain everything from the mundane to my most personal thoughts.
The are minutes from working meetings, instructions on drafting changes.
So. Many. Grocery. Lists.
There are notes from the books I’ve read, sometimes reviews or poignant thoughts, but mostly prose that deeply affected me, all carefully copied down so I wouldn’t forget it.
There are lists of every imaginable kind.
There are the notes I frantically scribbled down in the middle of the night when struck with inspiration.
There are half written essay paragraphs that have come to me in an intense moment of clarity.
There are the dreams that I’ve recorded typed through weary eyes after being jolted awake.
There are the notes. about my loved ones: a best friend’s favourite flower, gift ideas, important dates to remember to check up on someone. These might just be my favourite, because they’re not about me, but about the people who have shaped me.
Notes is the only place where I still dare to write poetry.
These notes flesh out the details of my existence. From them you learn more about my OCD tendencies, my infatuation with literature, my need to always know more, and my penchant for snow peas, than any other piece of my writing.
These notes have captured the best and worst moments. The moments where I was sure that I would be successful, and more importantly, the moments I would certain that there should be no tomorrow.
All so imperfectly captured with their typos, with the time and dates recorded forever.
That night this week that I looked through my notes, I deleted so many of them. I thought that there was no need to record music playlists, favourite candles, meal plans or lists of book that I wanted to read.
When I woke up I promptly rescued each and every single note from the recently deleted note, and they are once again safely contained in my notes app.