Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Maintaining a Personal Journal
Journal Entry: Weight = 176; Coinage =$.76, .28 from a residual walk, 26 pennies, 1 nickel, 2 dimes, 1 quarter; 2 glass bottles retrieved. The external entrances to service bays of automotive garages and body shops are becoming a reliable place to find money.
Feature Entry: The MoneyWalker reluctantly maintains a daily journal. Journals require internal discipline and my orientation is toward obligations to others. But I keep one as a part of my arsenal to fight weight gain and to add interest to my blog. Seeing those daily weight gains or losses on paper locks them into my consciousness and influences my eating choices for the day.
Over time I have developed protocols and specific characteristics of my journal. Each day begins with exact entries including the date, body weight, amount of coinage found including the number of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters, and location of major finds. Other protocol entries include glass bottles retrieved and found items such as lighters, hardware, articles of clothing, etc.
After the mandatory protocols of weight and coinage, non-protocol entries include reflections, observations, and feelings about my personal responses to the world of moneywalking. These are occasional entries. If I have a thought for a blog entry theme, the idea is noted for future reference. One recurring thought involves the ethics of finding money. I record “Proustian” thoughts—that is, unsolicited memory recalls from the just completed walk. Recently, I have begun to add phrases and ideas found in blogs that I follow. For example, Twincapes, author of the frugalpirate, blog URL http://frugalpirate.blogspot.com/ provided this excellent journal entry, “the ongoing search for passive income.”
By nature, the MoneyWalker is not planned and organized, or have neat legible penmanship. Over time, I have learned to be better at both. I use the journal for research and data management. How much have I gained over time? How many quarters have I found in the last six months? Where are the frequent hot spots for finding money? These questions are more easily answered if the journal is neat, the words can be read, and there is order in the entries.
The physical journal is also important. I use a field journal, the type an anthropologist might use. The book is rugged in composition and the pages are ruled with just the correct amount of white space. My current journal is black with an interesting wire binder.
In summary, keep a journal for motivation to lose or maintain weight loss, to keep track of the coinage found, and as a repository of creative thoughts that will get away unless they are captured in narrative. Journal entries are a great way to finish a healthy and invigorating walk.