Retroactive Journaling

I wish I was better at journaling. I love it and love having documentation of the things I’ve done, feelings I’ve felt, experiences I’ve had, etc. I just haven’t built the habit yet. I’d like to change that.

While I want to document my life moving forward, I also want to start painting a coherent picture of my past. As certain memories pop into my consciousness, I want to be able to capture them and place them in the appropriate chronology. While I’m aware that my remembering self will no doubt skew any documentation of my past, it’s better than not having any documentation at all!

Right now, I’m using Notion for the task at hand. Right now my setup looks a little something like this:

A Notion sidebar with title "Journal" and a tree navigation with items featuring different milestones from Brad's life, such as "Early Childhood", "College", "NYC", and so on.

This is largely scaffolding at the present moment, but there are a few nuggets and some fleshed-out memories peppered throughout. It’s been a successful experiment so far, but there’s a long way to go.

Capturing Music

Music has been a big part of my life, and I want to give special attention. I’d love to be able to tell a comprehensive story of:

  • What music I listen to
  • What music I see live
  • What music I make

For music I listen to, I’m thankful for holding down the fort and faithfully tracking my music listening for the last 15 years. I’m happy to continue leaning on that, and potentially using that data to display something on my own website.

For documenting live music, I desperately want to steal the brilliant Rob Weychert‘s Tinnitus Tracker project, which is his way of documenting his live music adventures. So Rob, I hope it’s alright if I end up stealing this idea and retroactively retracing the concerts I’ve attended over the years.

Capturing all the music I’ve created is a trickier one. I have so many sketches, noodles, jam sessions, demos, recorded tracks, and drum covers that are scattered across hard drives, voice memos, and online services. I have ideas for how to pull all of this together but it’ll be a big undertaking. For now, I’m looking to lean on my SoundCloud (for audio only) and my YouTube channel (for video + audio) to round up and share my musical creations.

Retracing my life

None of this is absolutely necessary for me to live my life. But I think retracing my life and filling in the gaps is helpful for understanding myself, gaining insights, and giving my daughter and potential descendants a window into my life. Life life itself, this exercise is going to be a journey!