How do you keep a decade?
March 9, 2008 5:32 PM   Subscribe

Next Sunday is my 30th birthday. Please help me find a way to preserve a piece of each and every day from March 16th, 2008 to March 16th, 2018.

Ten years from now when I'm about to turn 40, I want to have something to remember this next decade by. How can I best record every single day of my thirties?

I've never been one to faithfully keep a daily diary, but I am committed to this idea and plan to follow through. However, I wonder whether it would be best to do this online or off-line (or both)? How can I make it manageable and enjoyable enough so that I don't give up after 2 weeks? Should it include my photography, art (which is not my forte), text (handwriting or type), various objects (receipts, mail, etc.) or a mix of all of the above? Or something totally different altogether? (Oh, and please don't suggest doing self-portraits, I hate having my photo taken so that won't work.)

Any suggestions on how I could go about this project? Every comment, no matter how seemingly simple or crazy, is deeply appreciated.
posted by susiepie to Grab Bag (19 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
No. 1's ten years of my life.
posted by MadamM at 5:40 PM on March 9, 2008

I love this idea.

I always find myself astounded by the expansive smallness of the date paintings, a continuous work by On Karawa. Each day, he paints the day's date on a small canvas. (Previously.) I suppose I like how such a simple limitation because such a giant thing. So think small: write a haiku, a prayer, or maybe 20 words each day about that day in honor of your 20-year task.
posted by mochapickle at 5:49 PM on March 9, 2008

*became such a giant thing. ahem.
posted by mochapickle at 5:50 PM on March 9, 2008

*10/ten. double-damn.
posted by mochapickle at 5:52 PM on March 9, 2008

I would recommend at least one photo a day, sometimes more. I took my camera everywhere I went for one year and took at least one photograph a day to sum up the day. The result was over 1,000 photos of one year of my life, which I turned into a movie file and added music. I encoded it at 12 photos a second but it is really amazing to watch a year of my life in a 8 or 9 minute video. I can only imagine what a decade looks like. Send me a private message if you would like a link to it so you can check it out.
posted by occidental at 6:24 PM on March 9, 2008

I would start writing, a little bit everyday. Anything, really just to get you going. Since you said you're not used to such commitment, begin with no expectations. Soon, you'll want to write more and more, you'll explore different paths.

Online vs. offline: Do you really want to share this with the world? If so, doing it online might be an idea. But I would strongly recommend you just buy a notebook. You can insert photos, letters, news articles, anything. You can bring it everywhere. Remember: there are no rules, no better ways. Ten years is long! I think this type of project cannot be fully prepared, but must rather be experienced, daily. Just tell yourself: I must write something, everyday. A sentence, a full page, it does not matter.

You could also record yourself, and make an audio journal. It's much more spontaneous than writing, plus you get to record the space you're in as well. I have such recordings from years ago, and they are very evocative: it's not only what I say, but the way I say it, the voices I can hear in the background--it's like living it again.

As for self-portrait, I always thought they don't say much (apart from "hey you didn't shave for twelve days! huh!"). The one-photo-a-day can be interesting, but I would personally complement the photos with thoughts and remarks--and don't pick the nicest photo, but the most evocative one.
posted by ddaavviidd at 6:31 PM on March 9, 2008

Beyond photo-a-day, how about recording your voice for like 10 sec. everyday? Perhaps you could wake up, think for a second, then record an adjective.

(And I disagree with david about the self-portraits.. what so cool about Rembrandt and his self-portraits are the progression.. though I suppose one's hand expresses more change over the years than shutter-blades and photo-sensors.)
posted by hobbes at 6:57 PM on March 9, 2008

One of what everybody said! You don't need to do the same thing every day, just do *something* and then at the end you'll have a multi-media decade!

Fabulous idea! I might steal it in a few years.
posted by mccxxiii at 7:15 PM on March 9, 2008

This summer I'll hit my 60th... I've been writing since I was a kid, taking pictures almost as long.. and I love revisiting where I've been..

Congratulations to you for wanting to preserve the next decade!

Write, take pictures, preserve it in a manner that won't degrade over time... online or offline...doesn't matter... just make sure that it is there for you and the ones you love to savor in 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years from now...
posted by HuronBob at 7:30 PM on March 9, 2008

Write a letter everyday. Send them to friends and family, and ask them to send it back to you in 10 years. Or write a letter to yourself 10 years in the future, give it to friends, and ask them to mail it back to you.
posted by melodykramer at 8:02 PM on March 9, 2008

Keep your receipts. My boyfriend has been going through his old receipts and reminding me about restaurants we went to and other places we went together when we were first going out. They're all conveniently dated and clear about where, when and what you spent money on.
posted by bendy at 8:51 PM on March 9, 2008

Digital photos are by far the most practical way to do this; they've got a built-in timestamp, so you'll be able to automatically sort them, and they don't require a lot of time per day (like a diary/blog). If you need words to accompany a particular day, you can always write them on paper and photograph it.
Get a small camera that you can carry with you at all times. Upload the pictures to your computer once a week or so, and be sure to keep backups --- a hard drive failure is pretty likely over the span of a decade. Put them on flickr if you want to share them, but don't make any online service your primary storage facility, since a dot-com failure is also pretty likely over 10 years.

(hmm... I hit 30 in a few months... thanks for the idea!)
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 9:26 PM on March 9, 2008

Ten Year Diary.

There's only space for a small paragraph for each day, but maybe that would encourage you to write daily?
posted by peep at 10:29 PM on March 9, 2008

if you have a mac, take a photo with yourself everyday :) make sure you do it alone so when you feel miserable one day it will show more clearly in the photo, when happy you'll be doing all sorts of funny poses
posted by Jack Feschuk at 11:10 PM on March 9, 2008

I think that you should write a letter to someone every single day and mail it to them. It could be a postcard, a collage, a real letter, a memory you have with them, a photograph you took and wanted them to see of even something that inspired you or might inspire them. Send them an interesting clip from the newspaper. Then scan it and save it on your computer.

Send the letter. You get to keep something from that day and so do they.
posted by thebrokenmuse at 11:19 PM on March 9, 2008

Perhaps after scanning print them and keep them in a notebook chronologically.
posted by thebrokenmuse at 11:20 PM on March 9, 2008

collect not only receipts, but ticket stubs, clothing tags, food/candy wrappers, coasters, those promotional postcards at bars/museums/music venues, and cards/postcards/letters people send you. cut them up without remorse and make collages in the afore-recommended notebook/journal.

don't stress out over if it is trying too hard or not artistic enough or whatever, just do it and keep going. as it is really just the little things in life that make up a day, looking back at these pieces could really bring back memories otherwise forgotten.
posted by liverbisque at 2:14 AM on March 10, 2008

I started using Twitter ( a while ago and one of my aims was to try and post at least once a day (maximum of 140 characters each time). Any subject being acceptable; the aim was more to try and get myself to write *something* regularly. Looking back over the past few months now I've accumulated a lot of random "statuses". I could imagine that going through that, selectively (say taking 50%) and putting it all together in a book after 10 years would be an interesting way of seeing "life go by"...
posted by spherical_perceptions at 3:51 AM on March 10, 2008

Get a week per page or month per page calender, and write down the major things you did and who you did them with each day.
posted by yohko at 10:06 AM on March 10, 2008

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