Zia Hassan

Lab Notebook

Today, I received a package in the mail that I’ve been waiting for since the new year started.

I wasn’t quite sure when it would arrive, and I checked the mail incessantly. There was no tracking number or notification service letting me know when it would be out for delivery.

Well, it arrived today. I nearly tackled the mailman.

Inside of the package were four books, full of words that I’d already read… because I’d written them.

I’ve written before about my journaling habit. Ive been going online now for nine years, almost daily. I say almost because between 2010-2014, I wrote maybe 3-5 times a week. After that, it was daily.

At first, I used email services like OhLife, that would email me every day asking how my day was. I would reply and my response would go into a private database, and the same email would also tell me what I wrote a year ago.

Eventually, I wrote a script in Ruby that imported all of my entries into an app called DayOne, which also allowed me to add pictures.

DayOne has the feature of being able to order a beautiful photo book that makes a beautiful display of photos and text. I ordered 4 books – 9 years of journal entries. And while these aren’t for the public, they give me exactly what I want – a lab notebook.

A lab notebook contains the objective observations of life. Not like this blog, which is full of analysis. My journal is just a list of things I did or things I feel. The very fragments of my mind, poured out onto paper.

I read about my wedding, I read about my career changes (2 of them), I read about finding out my wife was pregnant. Then I read about my child being born and the days that followed.

I saw how far I’ve come, and got a glimpse of where I’m headed (but only a glimpse).

It’s a window and a mirror and a data sheet all in one.